The Moment

Everyone loves a great love story.  Especially when the poor peasant girl receives the passion of the young prince and he sweeps her away from her horrible existence to the spectacular kingdom where she will live happily ever after.  But it’s THE MOMENT in the fairy tale when the Prince approaches the poor girl offering his love.  Royalty approaching poverty, head lowered in shame, face raised in expectation, words spoken in love, eyebrows lowered in question, eyes filled with tears, pupils wide in awe, a broad smile, heartbeats quickened, palms trembling, wide open arms, full embrace…this is what love feel like…this is THE MOMENT!

Jesus was no different than us when he observed a great love story and probably grew up asking his earthly Dad and Mom when they fell in love.  He watched his friends fall in love and marry, he observed weddings even performed his first miracle (changing water into wine) at a wedding reception in Galilee.  As a Rabbi he may even have performed wedding ceremonies.  But Jesus himself never married and we don’t have record of his falling in love with any one woman in particular although he had great love for his mother Mary and a special friendship with two sisters Martha and Mary.

It was this Jewish Wedding imagery that Jesus was addressing when he described why he was sent from his Father (in heaven) to rescue his bride from this world.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever would believe in him would not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  The Apostle Paul instructed “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27).

As we approach Easter at Ogden we are excited to focus on the Jewish Wedding imagery that Jesus described to his followers - especially focusing on THE MOMENT when God made his great proposal to mankind through Jesus Christ toward us.  If you have never felt truly loved, or you know someone who needs to hear how truly loved they are, then I ask that you’ll invite them to hear about Jesus’ great love for them…this could be THE MOMENT!

Join us this Sunday won't you? THREE services-8:30 am, 9:45 am or 11 am. Find out more at our Facebook event HERE.

Pastor John

Too fast for the icy curve, therefore...

“Therefore, take up the whole armor of God...”     - -  Ephesians 6:12

IcyCrash.jpg

As I rounded the corner on Wolf Creek Highway yesterday afternoon I remember thinking I’m glad I’m in this giant truck on this icy road --  I’d hate to be in that little car which is travelling way to fast toward the curve I just rounded.  Therefore I am safe and they are not.  And sure enough, as I looked in the rear view mirror I saw the action.  Both cars met and spun each other leaving each in opposite ditches.  As I talked with one of the drivers she said she’d never been in an accident before and she had new tires on order.  “I guess you can cancel that order” I said and she laughed.  The other car fled the scene.  This is a perfect picture of what this verse above is saying to us…because it’s so slippery therefore slow down or because it is so slippery you should get tires with a decent tread (FYI: the owners of Vulcan Tire on Beecher attend our church – just sayin’)! 


So what is the icy statement that precedes the “therefore” in Ephesians 6:12?

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.   

Very dark side!   Because of the evil, because of wicked forces, because of unseen danger “therefore.”  We’ve been told that when reading the word “therefore” in the Bible we should ask what “it’s there for.”  But if you look back you’ll miss the point… it is actually an action word in the Greek it means “because this thing do this thing”…it’s a forward look based on the present reality.   

Pastor Brandon shared about Peace Breakers yesterday (great sermon listen HERE) and he identified that elevating your desire, loving the world, and judging are three ways to bring strife and break the peace of God in your life.  Therefore…what are you going to do?

May I suggest that you slow down and get some new tires!  

SLOW DOWN – take the time to consider where you are right now in your life with your relationships, with your finances, with your family, with your employment.  


TIRE CHECK -- Get some new tires check the depth of your tread – consider where you are with God!   Consider Step 2 to put on the armor (protection) of God .  It starts this Wednesday (January 13) with kids programs Nursery through Grade 8 and Four Adult Ed Classes…find out more about the classes HERE.     

Pastor John

A Snipe in a paper bag

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”                  - -  Ephesians 6:10-11

 

Our DVR is set to record a number of programs each week.  This allows you to watch your favorite show even if you missed it at its regular broadcast time.  One of the Maguire favorites is a show called The Carbonaro Effect.   It is Candid Camera and Houdini combined into a Tru tv show self-described as “ an American hidden camera/practical joke reality television series.”  The show is hosted by magician and prankster Michael Carbonaro. He performs baffling tricks on unsuspecting people in everyday situations, all caught on hidden camera.  I often watch with great pain as people become completely taken in by the schemes of The Carbonaro Effect and wonder how I might get fooled too.  


It was at a church camping trip that I remember being hoodwinked for the first time.  Our group of 3rd grade boys was encouraged to capture the elusive “Snipe” to get a pizza party reward and $20 to the two-man team who captured the first Snipe!  A Snipe was described to us a bird smaller than a chicken but larger than a Robin who was very quick except at night.  It could be captured by sneaking up on it with a paper bag while chanting in the highest voice possible - - “Here Snipe- Snipe- Snipe!”  It must have been hilarious to the leaders to see 20 boys dragging paper bags along the ground singing in a high voice to attract a non-existent bird.  One of the leaders even caught one and I had the courage to reach my hand in to feel it – a very wet feathery bird – but unfortunately the snipe ripped through the paper bag and got away.  After 2.5 hours of Snipe hunting we were exhausted and went right to bed.  The next morning at breakfast they shared the great secret… that there was no such bird and the Snipe Hunt was simply a way to get us exhausted. And the bird I told my friends I touched was described to me as a wet sponge – but to this day I’m sure I touched a Snipe in a paper bag!   


In the verse above the devil is described as one who schemes but we can stand against!  Scheme is this very interesting Greek word in the original μετηοδεια (methodia) means “cunning crafty, deceit, trickery” and comes from the idea of travelling over travesty (method).  In other words you were fooled into believing in Snipes!  The devil is good at scheming – sometimes he deceives through things, sometimes through people, sometimes through our own thoughts and selfishness – you know what it is called?  The methodia effect.  And we all can be tricked but we don’t have to be tricked.


How?  How can we not be tricked?  How can we stand?  We stand by putting on the “whole armor of God.”  In the coming weeks I want to talk about what suiting up with God really means.  I’ve got to go now - -  someone told me there are Snipes on the church property as big as Turkeys!  “Here Snipe, Snipe, Snipe!”  “Here Snipe, Snipe, Snipe!”

Pastor John 


   

Old Year - New Day

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

What are you doing New Year’s New Year’s Eve?  This famous invitation song becomes the question we tend to ask each other right now … in fact someone just stopped by the table at Starbucks that I’m writing this blog at and asked it!  We like to celebrate the start of new things especially with the people we love!

Two of my favorite comparative Greek words are included in the verse above and they are perfect for our reflection on the exchange of 2015 for 2016 about to take place.  These two words describe the work of the Father in Jesus through the Spirit toward us.  The two words are αρχηαιοσ (archios) and καινοσ (khanos) from where we get the words old and new.  Archios (the root used in the word archaeology or better seen in a word like archaic) holds an even stronger understanding that just the word old.  This word carries more of an “at the beginning it was good - but it is all raggedy now and worn out and barely looks like it was intended – something to be thrown away.” Now khanos is exactly the opposite it carries the understanding of something that it is brand new- out of the box new – fresh and unused new! 
 
So anyone who is “in Jesus” is a new thing?  Oh yes!  And the raggedy has passed away?  Oh yes!  And the brand new has come?  Oh yes!  Happy New Year!  But what’s even better is that the “new” comes through his steadfast love every single morning, great is his faithfulness to us (Lamentations 3:22, 23)! 
 
My prayer for you (and me) is that the new days ahead in 2016 are filled with new things from God from the Father in Jesus through the Spirit!  Happy New Year and Happy New Day!

Pastor John

BREAKING NEWS: What happened next was unbelievable...

Everyone’s eyes were wide… including my mom’s, my big brother’s, and my three older sister’s eyes.  It was as if this news story, more than any other story, was breaking news being told for the first time, again.  What made it even more credible was the reporter was my Dad and so we listened more intently.  Oh - we were anxious to discover what would come after this story, but for a few short minutes the earth would stand still for the report and we would listen the whole time moving from face to face watching each other’s responses to the news…

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Luke 2:1-20 (King James Version)

There would not be a commentary, a sermon, or lesson that followed the breaking news… just a simple heart-felt prayer (often through tears) from my Dad who thanked God for sending his Son Jesus at Christmas so that we could be saved from our sins.  Following the Amen…Christmas gifts!!!  The reward of the news story we had just heard would be played out now on each one of us.  To be individually loved and blessed because of this news story.

Grandpa Maguire reading the Christmas story December 25, 2011

Grandpa Maguire reading the Christmas story December 25, 2011

It is years later that I recognize the great sacrifice that my Mom and Dad made (a weekly deposit into a Christmas Club account that they could not afford to miss) and the annual outpouring of rewards given in love to their five kids.  There was a subtle but deep meaning behind that simple breaking news story spoken before the gifts were opened that ensured each Christmas was a reminder of the day Jesus arrived as the greatest reward!

I want to encourage you to take the time before the rewards to tell your kids, your grandkids, your friends, yourself the Breaking News:  What happened next is unbelievable!

See you Christmas Eve at 5 or 10 pm!

Pastor John



A lesson in a field in Scotland

The sheep were all around me, even a few lambs, as I sat on the hill. It was one of those moments I’ll never forget and I’ll probably never repeat in all my life.   I was on a team of college students from America who desired to serve in a foreign mission trip and had the chance to spend the summer in Scotland.  Each day we would walk from the university in Edinburgh (where we stayed in a flat) to the church we served doing Bible clubs for kids and youth events.  On the walk each day we would pass through a field filled with sheep.  In Scotland it is common to allow people to pass through private fields even building  gates for people to enter and exit through the pasture.  No matter how slowly you moved through the field the sheep were always terrified and ran.  I found myself thinking often about these sheep and tried to make friends with them although they never were interested in the Americans.   I often tookmy free time in that field with God’s Word and found myself drawn to passages like Psalm 23, Isaiah 53, John 10 and 1 Peter 5 - - passages about sheep.   On this particular day as I sat there all of a sudden I watched the sheep stir.  Sheep that spent most of the day looking down at the grass were all looking up and in the same direction.  It was then that I saw a man in the distance.  He didn’t dress any differently than I and he wasn’t speaking loudly – but he was speaking and the sheep paid attention.  As he came through the gate, the sheep moved together quickly, many of them in full sprint toward this man.  I followed too, which I’m sure made the man nervous, but I wanted to speak to their shepherd.  I had spent time with the sheep now I wanted to meet the one who they trusted in.  His voice, a thick soft spoken Scottish brogue, spent little time telling his story and awhile telling their stories.  He knew the sheep well – telling me names and characteristics of his flock.  Even though it was English I didn’t understand a lot of what he said as he often laughed through his words.  I do remember him saying something profound, “Ye cannee elp buh luuuuv em.”

 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”  - - Jesus (John 10:27-30)

It would be several dozen years later that God would bring this image back to me and I would become a shepherd  myself- -

“shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you, not for shameful gain, but eagerly, not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”  (1 Peter 5:2-4) 

Have you ever wondered what I’m thinking of ya’ll when I look out at you on any given Sunday?  I am proud of who you are, for your love for Jesus, for your passion to serve Him, and your progress in your witness of Him …  “Aye canne elp buh luuuuv ye!”

The team’s work that summer in Edinburgh, Scotland would prove to be transformational in my desire to serve God through ministry.  I love what God does through teams and I am grateful for the team of shepherds I serve with.   This Christmas the staff at Ogden would like to thank you for letting us serve you and your families in the pasture of Ogden Church!

Merry Christmas from the staff at Ogden Church!

We luuuuv ye!

Pastor John Maguire