Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Heart2Heart & Miscellaneous

This week we will begin a new four week series of messages titled, Heart2Heart. In this series we will take a look at what kind of hearts we really have. Often times we are not the people we imagine ourselves to be. Jeremiah 17:9, says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?"

So we are going hold Scripture up next to our hearts for the next few weeks and see what we can learn about ourselves.

Here is the road map for the series...
· 11/ 2 I have a Caring Heart – Luke 10:25-37
· 11/9 I have a Believing Heart – Malachi 3
· 11/16 I have a Trusting Heart – Daniel 3
· 11/23 I have a Willing Heart – Exodus 35:21


This Sunday morning, our prayer ministry is hosting a special breakfast. We have a lady from Pittsburgh for whom we have been praying a long time. She wants to share with us how much those prayers have meant to her and her family and what God has done as a result. It will be a special morning. If you haven't RSVP'd by calling the church office, please do so soon.


Last minute invite... Randy Wagner, Ray & Bernie's son, called and invited our choir to join his choir in singing at the John McCain / Arnold Swarzenagger rally this Friday. Hank Williams Jr. will also be singing. Can't you just imagine Pastor Shawn and Hank singing together. That may be very interesting!


I just got an email with the estimate from Kenya for the house we want to help the Strausz family build. This will serve as the home for Greg and Lisa as long as they are there and will also serve as the home base for our church's mission work there. Do you want to know how much it is? Are you sitting down? Almost three million dollars... or actually shillings... Kenya shillings... or about thirty-seven thousand US dollars.


I was talking with a young lady in our church this past Sunday evening. I won't mention her name here on the internet, but many of my Ohio readers will know who I am talking about in another sentence or two. I told her I had used her as an illustration of spiritual growth in a discipleship class I had taught last Saturday morning. She then reminded me that this month, October (I think she said, October 20th) marked the one year anniversary of her profession of faith. She talked about how much her life had changed in one year. She said she had been telling all her friends that October was her birthday month :). So far as I know, she had no church background at all a year ago, and look at her now! Faithful to the Lord... Serving the Lord... In fact, a week or two ago, Donna, my wife, was calling around trying to line up people for our table at the upcoming Heartbeats banquet. Several of the people she called had already been called by this young lady. I think that is GREAT! The grace of God still works pretty well, doesn't it? We should all be that excited about the Lord.


Donna brought her camera by the church today to take some photo's for me for an upcoming slideshow. We took pictures of all the things the church has been able to do because of the faithfulness of our members in their capital fund giving these last three years. It took an hour to get all of the photos. It was exciting to look back and remember all that has happened. Have you walked through the renovated gym and family life center lately? By the way, can I give a shameless plug for my wife's photography blog? She is really getting pretty good at this photography stuff...


I heard from an old friend of mine this week from Montgomery, AL. She and her husband are trying to adopt a child from just over in Pennsylvania. They have faced some real obstacles and complications with this. You can get more details if you have a password to the church's prayer page. Just keep them in your prayers from now through the end of November. Pray that they will have wisdom and receive grace from the Lord.


Back to the To Do list...

Pastor Noel

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Last night I finally finished a book I have been reading for a month...

Riven, by Jerry Jenkins

Jenkins is the author who wrote the Left Behind series. I read a little bit of those and did not really enjoy them or agree with some of the theology, so I was doubtful that I would like Riven, but a neighbor recommended it at a time I wanted some light reading. I decided to give it a try. Over 500 pages later (it has been forever since I have read a fiction book that long) I can say it was a fun read. You won't learn anything new in the book; it isn't meant to teach theology or doctrine; it doesn't explore any controversial subjects... it is just a feel good story that shows how the grace and sovereignty of God can change lives.

It is an encouraging book on many levels. It deals with marriage, ministry, parenting, failures, skeptics, prayer, suffering, and so on.

If you are looking for a pleasant and godly distraction for a while... if you are looking for something to replace TV entertainment for a while (which wouldn't hurt any of us), this book would be an excellent diversion.

People often ask me what I am reading (and I often ask other people what they are reading). I read a lot of different kinds of books, some you would think very odd (I read "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers" a few months ago... very interesting...) Here is a run down of recent and current books...

I just finished "Pilgrim's Progress" in audio format. I've been listening to that book while bike riding recently. If you haven't read that, you should. I had read it in college, but forgotten most of it.

Last week I re-read, "The Cross of Christ" by John Scott. This is not light reading, but if you really want to understand the why's of Christ dying on the cross, there is no better book. If you think, "Hey, I already know all of that." You are WRONG! Read the book. You will be amazed all over at the grace of God.

Last night after I finished Riven, I started reading a business book someone recommended to me, "What Got You Here Won't Get You There" by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter. I haven't read enough to know if I would recommend this or not.

Pastor Noel

Monday, October 27, 2008

Evening Worship

Thanks for all the new faces that came out our first Soma-Kristou worship service. I felt like we had a great spirit in the service. Good comments about the way we began and the question we focused on... The ending was great. It seemed like there were a hundred people on their knees gathered around the altar, some praying alone, some huddled with friends or family, all pleasing God with their devotion. I think some bowls were filled last night :).

This coming Sunday we will continue to focus on Romans 3-5 and the Calculus of Salvation. If you have a suggestion for our starting question, put your question in the submission box at the greeter station in the main worship foyer sometime between now and Sunday afternoon.

Pastor Noel

P.S. Could it really snow tonight? It is October! I guess I'm still not used to living in Ohio.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Soma Kristou Worship

Here is a description of our new Sunday evening worship format. This begins this Sunday.


Soma-Kristou Worship
The Body of Christ in Worship
(sō’-mă Krĭs’-to̅o̅)

Each Sunday evening at 6:00, we meet together for a special time of worship with an emphasis on the Body of Christ coming together around the teaching of the Word of God.

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:42

This is a casual time of worship that includes these elements…

· Pastor Q&A…
We begin with the pastor answering a question or two submitted by the congregation during the past week. These questions can be about current events, theology, or the everyday struggles of life. The pastor will seek to shine the light of God’s Word on these topics.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. Psalms 19:7-8

· Body of Christ Singing
Our pastors help focus us on the Lord for a time of genuine, heartfelt worship.

Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power. Psalms 21:13

· In Depth Bible Study
Sometimes we work through books of the Bible, verse at a time; sometimes we study characters of the Bible in four to six week series; sometimes we tackle what the Bible says about a particular subject over a period of three to four weeks.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

· Body of Christ Prayer
We have a time when we pray for each other. Pastors and Deacons are available to pray with families or individuals who have special needs. We have dozens of prayer cards with urgent prayer concerns that our church body prays for. For those who want to, we gather at the altar and spend time in sincere prayer for our community, our church, and each other.

Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." Matthew 18:19-20

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sea Turtle Eggs

Read this great article about Ed Young Jr., who pastors Fellowship Church in Grapevine Texas. Don't stop at least until you get to the part about the Sea Turtle Eggs. (The link to the actual article is here.)


Ed Young Jr.: Scripture is best voter guide
By Michael Foust Oct 20, 2008

GRAPEVINE, Texas (BP)--Scripture provides guidance for Christians in deciding which candidate to support on Election Day, Texas pastor Ed Young Jr. told his congregation Oct. 19.It was the second part in a sermon series Young has dubbed "Politicked." The pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine gave five categories believers should examine about each political candidate."Once we ask ourselves these five questions and once we answer them, then we'll be ready to vote for the right person," he said.The five categories are:

-- Character.

"Everything begins with character," said Young, pointing to Proverbs 29:2: "... If we elect righteous leaders, our government will be righteous, and if our government is righteous then the laws will be righteous."

Christians should take a political candidate's private conduct seriously, Young said.

"Character can be defined as who you are when no one's looking," he said. " ... For a long, long time, people have said, 'Who you are in private does not really affect who you area in public office.' ... That's absolutely, friends, nuts, because who you are in private is who you are. Who you are in private is who you are in public."

-- Conviction.

Reading from Proverbs 28:1 -- which says the "righteous are bold as a lion" -- Young said, "We need to elect lionesses and lions in this day -- people who are not politicians, but people who are statesmen, people who are leaders." That conviction, he said, must be based on God's Word.

He mentioned the "gay agenda" as one area where society is moving away from scriptural teachings.

"God has told us from cover to cover that there is only one context where sex should be enjoyed and practiced and celebrated -- marriage.... The Bible tells me and it tells you that during the end of time ... what is right [will be viewed as] wrong and [what is] wrong [will be viewed as] right."

Referencing those who compare the homosexual movement to the civil rights movement, Young said, "I've known a lot of former homosexuals but I've never met a former African American."

-- Courage.

"Does this candidate display courage?" Young asked. "Can you look at this candidate's life -- the history of him or her -- and say, 'You know what? He stood up for courage there. She stood up for courage.' ... Courage is the God-given ability to stand.... Conviction is belief. Courage is behavior."

Pointing to Proverbs 11:3, Young said, "The other day I heard a candidate being interviewed, and here's the response the candidate made to a question on morality, ... 'Well, for me as a Christian.' ... That was a relativistic answer. … The relativist says, 'What's right for you is true for you and what's true for you is true for you.'"

Giving an example of the absurdity of relativism, Young said someone could say, as part of the relativistic worldview, "What's true for me is to fly airliners into the sides of skyscrapers and kill hundreds and hundreds of people."

-- Compassion.

Giving the biblical definition of compassion, Young read from Proverbs 31:8-9, which says, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." He also read from Proverbs 24:11, "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter."

Abortion, Young said, is an issue where a political candidate must show compassion."

We're taking the lives, of ... 3,200 babies a day -- taking the lives of developing babies -- when you'll get thrown in prison and pay an astronomical fine if you disturb the eggs of developing sea turtles," he said. "What's right is wrong and [what's] wrong is right."

-- Constituency.

Young said examining who supports and opposes the candidate can help determine who to support."

I can meet your friends, without even meeting you, and tell you what kind of a person you are," Young said. "Who applauds this potential candidate and who opposes them? We better wake up and smell the coffee, here, friends. If the mainstream secular media supports a candidate or an issue, there is a great chance that something is sideways, [and] you better look at that one very, very closely. Who opposes them? Who is for them?"

Michael Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press. Young's sermon can be viewed online at

© Copyright 2008 Baptist Press
Original copy of this story can be found at

Monday, October 20, 2008


We had a good day Sunday... baptisms, new members, decisions, good crowd, good worship, great 'Chili Cook-Off' after the evening service...

A big thanks to Andrew Hottinger! Andrew is a young man in our church who recently accepted the call into ministry. Pastor Shawn was down in Tennessee leading in a revival, so Andrew filled in and did a great job.

This coming Sunday morning, we will continue to look at the practical applications of the Priesthood of Christ in our series we've called, "It's All About Who You Know." We've had many comments on this series so far. If you would like to really study this subject for yourself, read through the first ten chapters of Hebrews focusing primarily on Hebrews 5-10.

This Sunday evening, we will have a new format for our worship service. I'm looking forward to our different approach. I'll try to blog again later this week with an update of exactly what it will look like.

Pastor Noel

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

This Sunday II

I'm really looking forward to this Sunday. We will be beginning a new series of messages titled, "It's All About Who You Know." In this series we are going to focus on Jesus as our Great High Priest. I've spent the day studying Hebrews 5-10. I don't think I've ever understood the significance of Christ's priesthood like I do today. I think for most of us, we will find this is a surprising and life changing truth.

Pastor Noel