By Pastor Ben Hill (reproduced with permission)
Doors, doors, doors. How many doors do we go through every single day? Just stop and think how many you’ve gone through today! If we consciously consider every single one in our homes, at work, in our cars, at the stores and doctors’ offices it really would be amazing just how many there are.
Some doors lead to new rooms or buildings. Some are a pathway to a never before seen place. To enter, you may have to turn a knob, push a lever, or pull a handle, and yet some open automatically. Others open by pushing a button, like your garage door.
Doors come in all sizes, heights, widths, and depths. Some are strictly utilitarian, others quite ornate. They all lead somewhere, and we are continually walking through them.
The point is that doors are everywhere. They’re so prevalent that we hardly even notice them. Many of these doors we can take or leave, use or not use with very little consequence. An example would be when visiting the hospital — do I go through the standard door or the revolving door?
BUT there is another door, it’s THE Door. We must be conscious of this door every day, and aware of what it means. IT is the door that no man constructs; it is the door that God puts before us. The door to an abundant life, a life of meaning and purpose, a door to what is right and true. It’s THE door to life everlasting! AND… this door is ALWAYS open! We just have to walk through it.
Jesus has opened the lock and torn it off with His own sacrifice! IT is open, have you walked through by faith? As His child, recognize the door to abundant living He puts before you. Step through the door every day. This door leads to greater joy and meaning in life than we could ever imagine. He knows the way, so trust Him and step through!
By Pastor Ben Hill
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
By what name are you called? What’s in a name? The one indispensable name in all of eternity is the Name of Jesus! Of this we are certain. But beyond that, what is in a name?
Juliet (of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare) is said to have opined: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
What’s in a name? I am Benjamin, Son of Reginal and Mary Ellen, Father of Brittany and Daniel, Husband of Debbie. But my name means more than that as well; I am Benjamin, Pastor, Counselor, and Teacher.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”
So collectively, what name have we been given? And how important is it? We are called Christian, “little Christ”, “Christ-follower”. What’s in THAT name? Well, a whole lot! It defines us, it separates us, it should motivate and direct us! To live as “Christian” is to love as Christ loved, to serve as Christ served, to warn the lost as Christ did. To “live as Christ” is to care deeply and passionately about the souls of man.
So embrace the Name… live the Name… wear the Name with humble purpose… Christian! No matter “who” you are, remember “whose” you are, and BE like Christ!
By Pastor Ben Hill (reproduced with permission)
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
In today’s fast paced and frenetic society, “wait” is certainly not a concept that is welcomed, much less appreciated! I remember as a kid there were certainly different kinds of “waiting.” Christmas Eve brought excited anticipation which then turned to excited anguish. On Christmas morning we had early breakfast, then hustled off to Christmas Sunrise Church service, then back home to FINALLY see and open presents! There was also the kind of “waiting” that came with knowing I had to show my parents a report card that was somewhere between less than good and awful!!
Today we wait for all kinds of things. We wait at red lights, on hold with the utility companies, in the doctor’s office, for a table at a restaurant on a busy weekend night, and in line at the DMV. We wait for the next blockbuster movie to come out, for the pizza delivery guy, we even have to inconveniently “wait” for the water to boil to make spaghetti! (A watched pot never boils). We spend a lot of time waiting.
Even in our walk with Jesus, the waiting sometimes becomes bothersome. We wait for when He will come back again and clean up this mess! We wait for “peace on earth,” which incidentally won’t come until the former happens. We wait for the time when we will finally stop making the same silly spiritual mistakes, and we often wait impatiently for OTHERS to just ‘see that we are right.’ Yes, sometimes we wait unrealistically! We wait for eternal rest, so we wait… and wait… and wait.
But this waiting shouldn’t get us anxious, or upset, or impatient, or depressed, or frustrated. This waiting should make us soar! Those who wait upon the Lord will have our strength renewed, and we will soar like eagles. We will run and not be tired. We will walk and not grow weary. How, you may ask? Because we are His children, heirs of His grace and mercy, and we will wait…. but oh, the joy that is to come!!
So, wait…just a little bit longer.
By Sena Hagedorn
When I was in Junior High, my mom switched churches. Growing up, the normal was for mom to take her five kids to church every Sunday. My Father was a farmer and would attend on holidays. You could say he was a “creaster” (someone who only attends Christmas and Easter services). Oh, and potlucks, he loved a good church potluck!
Our church loved the Lord. We had some members in this congregation who would raise their hands while worshiping and singing to the LORD. It was here at this church, where I saw and experienced this kind of worship for the first time. I can remember my mom leaning over and saying to me as she gestured, “I wish I could worship like that”.
It saddens me greatly that she didn’t feel like she could raise her hands in worship, even though it was the desire of her heart. It’s sad that she didn’t feel free enough to be able to worship God by raising her hands.
Now, when I worship the LORD, I raise my hands. I do it in joy as I feel led by the Holy Spirit. I raise my hands in honor and memory of my mom, but also in my deep love, praise and gratitude to Jesus for his death on the cross.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
I like to think that my mom is in heaven with her hands raised high, freely worshiping Jesus. No more discomfort, no more bondage, no more yokes, no more brokenness, no more abuse, no more poverty. I’m not saying everyone needs to raise their hands in worship, but if it is the desire of your heart to worship the LORD with your hands raised, what is holding you back?
Christ has come to set the captives free and we are free indeed!
By Pastor Ben Hill (Reproduced with permission)
The woman at the well is a beautiful story of Christ’s compassion and grace. He intentionally engaged in conversation with a woman who would be considered by all in that day an outcast. Yet He brought to her forgiveness and mercy and He gave her the greatest gift imaginable!
The day after their encounter, were you to have asked her the question: “Who do you say Jesus is?” I’m quite certain she would have exclaimed: “He is THE Christ, The Messiah, He is Lord!” How would she have known? Because Jesus was (and is) a “Barrier Breaker”.
In this encounter we see Jesus first broke the barrier of race and gender… He made contact with her. Second, He broke the barrier of her need… He challenged her to look for something more. Third, He broke the barrier of her sinfulness… He confronted her sinful past. Fourth, He broke the barrier of her lostness… He revealed Himself to her and she saw the conversion of her soul available to her. Then, marvelously, we see her changed in that she left her water pot behind and ran to the very people who might have judged her in the past and brought to them the “good news” she had just been given!! She had found the Messiah!
Who do YOU say Jesus IS?
By Pastor Ben Hill (Reproduced with permission)
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:30
Think back to the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Do you remember how the massive pile of rubble, molten steel and unrecognizable human remains became a focal point of terror’s evil? Remember President Bush ascending a rubble pile with a fireman, and with bullhorn in hand proclaiming for the world to hear our Nation’s resolve, our determination to bring to justice those who were responsible for that horrific attack? That section of destroyed land was referred to over and over again as “Ground Zero”.
What is a ground zero? It is a place of origin, an established point of beginning. Can you think of the “ground zero” moments in your own life? For the Child of God, the ultimate “ground zero” moment happened over 2,000 years ago on a hill called Mt. Calvary!
God is perfectly holy, and His justice demanded punishment for sin. The complete wrath of God was poured out against the rebellion of man, at the cross where Jesus suffered and died for OUR sins! It was there that the justice of God was satisfied through the Lord’s sinless sacrifice.
This is where we see the divine paradox of the cross. In that very moment, God unleashes His unbridled punishment of sin but He also reveals His greatest expression of love, mercy, and grace! (Romans 5:8) God the Father gave His Only Son to die so that we don’t have to… this is grace defined! Yet grace is further revealed in the reality that Jesus was not an unwilling sacrifice. He freely laid down His life to pay your death sentence and mine!
O, what a Savior! We are redeemed by the blood of The Lamb!
The ultimate Ground Zero: Jesus died once for all who will surrender to Him.
Pray that you might fully appreciate the divine paradox of grace and that we all might share the love of God everywhere we go.