Moses said, teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts, Psalm 90.12. Did you catch it? We need to number our days carefully. In other words, we need to make each day count by living outside of ourselves so that we can truly lead a life of significance. As we gather today, our hearts are heavy with the loss of our dear sister, Ruth Robins. She, like the others among us who have gone home to their reward during 2019, led a life that touched many people, not only here at Kettering — but beyond. She did this by treasuring Christ above all. It’s the same commitment Paul wrote about in Philippians 1.20-21: it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
When I look back, I see in Ruth a person who used everything she had to show the treasure of Christ. Her home was open. Her heart was open. Her words revealed a genuine, humble heart committed to Jesus and love toward others. The sum of her life choices demonstrated the fact of just how much Christ and His church meant to her. Jesus was her treasure.
This is why, as she approached the end, we observed and experienced the “peace of Christ that surpasses all understanding,” Philippians 4.7. This promise is real … not only for the one going down into the valley, but also for those who accompany their loved one as far as they can go. For Ruth, death was gain. There were no regrets. No sadness. No remorse or sense of unfulfillment. It simply was deep and abiding and humble trust. No, she wasn’t perfect. There were failures, but at the end, she was still committed, and still as strong as she had ever been spiritually. Hers was a life well lived … a life’s work completed.
What a blessing! What encouragement! What inspiration for us as we each approach the date of our death. May we lead our spiritual life with the same resolve. What God calls us to do we will do. In what God equips us we will do. Where God gives us opportunity, we will go.
Thanks Ruth. We love you and can’t wait to be reunited with you, in the land that never fades away.
— Matthew Allen
Hey Kettering, it’s your second favorite preacher here. In our ever-technological, always connected, but somehow isolated culture we have to go about our evangelism in ways that have not been traditionally utilized. Of course, inviting someone to church is effective. Of course, an across the table bible study is wonderful. However, some people will never darken the door of a church building or be comfortable sitting across that table—at least not at first. People are over-stimulated with information overload. They are skeptical. But!, with the technological age we also have the benefit of using social media to our advantage.
MeetUp is a social media outlet that can be accessed by PC or smart phone that connects people based on their interests. I have created a group that you can find under the name “Kettering Christseekers.” Everyone should create an account and join the group. Why? It will draw more outside interest if people can see a tangible following. If the numbers are low, the chances are higher that it will be written off.
Several outsiders have already joined the group in hopes to attend some of our upcoming studies. The success of this effort is heavily dependent on YOU though, brethren. Each study will need a consistent core group of at least 5+ attendees in order to be successful. These studies will give you a chance to be involved in evangelism and be edified in the process.
So all that being said, I’d like to introduce you to our new and first ever MeetUp Study, Finding the Way – Walking with Jesus in the Gospel of Mark.” This study will be a verse-by-verse expedition through Mark’s gospel with the intention of getting to know Jesus, grounding our faith in Him, and understanding His mission to seek and save the lost. It’s geared toward the younger generation (16-30) but we can be flexible, especially with some of the younger kids if you think they ought to be there.
Our first study is going to be at the Schofield residence on Saturday, 14th at 3pm. Future sessions will be at more neutral locations (restaurants, coffee shops, etc.) so that people not familiar with the church inside our community will feel more comfortable attending. The first session will introduce the concept and vision for our future studies. Contact me if you have any questions or suggestions. It is very important that those in the 16-30 age group be a part of these studies.
- Cain Atkinson
In Mark 5, Jesus is presented to us as a Person of triumph, liberating people from enslavement.
- 5.1-12 - Jesus is confronted by a demon possessed man who was fully captive to these powers of evil. The demons were ravaging his life. There was no human power that could deliver him. Along comes Jesus who commanded the demons to go out of the man and into a herd of nearby swine.
- 5.24b-34 - Jesus heals a woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years. Like the demon possessed man, this woman was desperate and helpless as she suffered in her condition. She knew no one but Jesus could help. Reaching out in faith, she was instantaneously healed.
- 5.35-43 - Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead. This is the climax of the chapter. Not only does Jesus have authority over demons and our bodies, He has power over death!
The message of Mark 5 should go far in providing hope to those who are locked inside desperate circumstances. No situation is too dire for our Lord. He has the power to heal. He has the power to deliver. He has the power to restore and make new!
Here are some important facts we need to remember about God’s deliverance from sin:
- Hebrews 8.10-12 - Forgiveness is complete. Instantaneous.
- Titus 3.4 - Forgiveness is by grace.
- Ephesians 1.7 - Forgiveness can’t be used up. You can’t exhaust it.
- Psalm 86.5; 2 Corinthians 5.19 - God is eager to forgive!
- Micah 8.18 - Forgiveness is unequal; unrivaled.
- Ephesians 4.32 - Forgiveness is motivating!
If your sin has piled up like a debt against God, your debt can be cancelled, Colossians 2.14. Has your sin been erased? Satan and all his friends were decimated at the cross, Hebrews 2.14. Our liberator, Jesus, can set you free! Praise God for His great salvation!
- Matthew Allen
In this life, we fret and work for many things. We work for money, train tirelessly in sports and recreation and do all we can to win the admiration and respect of those that are around us in these various arenas. We spend our days building a life. Underneath all the physical things we strive for, our deepest desires are for joy, peace and truth. We know that one day, we will all pass away and be lost to history. All the castles, high towers and gates that we’ve set up will be rubble. Our lives are truly vapor. Finances, vehicles, jobs, nice homes comforting as they may be, will all return to the dust. Even the furthest soul from God knows this truth, but we know that our relationship to God will be the only thing that remains once the dust of all our “things” has settled.
2 Peter 3.10, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” One day we will see God, face to face. Does that comfort you? On that day all that we have built will be exposed. How will our lives stack up come judgment? What will be left?
In Matthew 7.24-27, Jesus said, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” On that day, our decorated careers won’t be there. Our sports accolades won’t be there. Our things won’t be there. So then let’s tear down all our idols and remember where our blessings come from. Let’s loosen our grip on the things of this world and “fix our minds on things above.” (Colossians 3.2)
- Cain Atkinson
There is something simple and beautiful about a seed going down into the earth and undergoing all the processes that it does in order to take root, pierce the soil it is buried in and extend skyward up toward the heavens. It’s amazing to see all the different types of leaves, flowers and fruit that these different seeds can eventually yield. It starts small. They always start small, but they can blossom into something amazing. In these simple yet beautiful things we can see the glory of God. So it is with the faith of a Christian. A fresh faith can, season after season, become stronger and stronger until it reaches full bloom in maturity and yield great fruit for the kingdom of God.
The Bible is rife with agricultural metaphors. Think of the idea of conversion. Jesus uses the analogy of a kernel of wheat in one of His many parables to illustrate the idea of someone dying to sin and being alive to God in John 12.24. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit.” Considering a recent baptism here at Kettering we should be rejoicing and encouraged, being reminded of this truth whether we see ourselves as a fledgling sprig or a well-rooted plant.
No matter our position it is our responsibility to bear fruit for God. Galatians 2.22-23 tells us what that fruit looks like. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” A mature Christian will bear this fruit, and it will all come naturally from his or her dedication to Christ.
Even still, we all need to work together. Sometimes we will see a young sprig in need of a drink. Sometimes we will find a plant that has grown away from the sun. Let’s all strive together to stir one another to good works no matter how long we have been in the faith, no matter how great or small our knowledge or talents are, and no matter the differences in opinion we may have. Let’s all encourage one another, provide a listening ear, or whatever the need may be to help us all reach higher to the goal of “growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
(2 Peter 3.18)
- Cain Atkinson