Pastors Ben Libby and Nathanael Mayhew look into the religion of Shintoism in our ongoing series on World Religions. Shintoism is a religion that originated in Japan but has changed much in over the years of its existence. It has been influenced by other religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. Since the Second World War, Shintoism has become more a cultural experience and drifted from strict religious devotion. While it is less religious than it once was, it still has dangerous concepts which lead people to emptiness and offers no hope for the sinner. Join us to learn more about the dangers of this Eastern religion.
In our Word of the Week today we consider a Greek word which Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit: Paraclete. This word is used four times by Jesus in the upper room on the night before His death to picture the work of the Holy Spirit, whom He promised to send to them. It is often translated "Comforter" or "Helper" in our English translations, but it means "the one who is called to our side" showing what He does for us in bringing us to faith in Jesus. This is a beautiful description of the third person of the God head and very fitting during this season of Easter and as we look ahead to Pentecost.
Join Pastors Ben Libby and Nathanael Mayhew as they dig into the last letter written by the Apostle Paul. This very personal letter written to his companion and fellow co-worker is personal as Paul reflects on his impending death in prison. Paul also highlights the importance of the Word of God and the Christian's responsibility to hold fast to that Word and the preach it faithfully and accurately for the sake of others. While it is one of the pastoral letters it also offers important lessons and encouragement for every Christian.
Malachi is probably most familiar for being the last book of the Old Testament in our English Bibles... But this final prophet of the Old Testament played a very important role in the lives of God's Old Testament people as he prepared them for the coming of the Savior. His message, like that of all of God's true prophets was one of Law and Gospel, revealing the problem of our sin, and the salvation won by God through the "Sun of Righteousness." And there is much for us to learn from this message as well!
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. The Bible tells us that wisdom is something that we need to get. So what really is wisdom? While the World may have an understanding of what they consider wisdom to be, it is not the same as what the Bible declares to be wise. What then is truly wise? It is the Word of God, and it is the message of Christ crucified! If you want to be wise, then get the Word! Proverbs 19:8 He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good.
Life can be a pretty complex and abstract concept. But for believers, life is really based around who and what Jesus is. While the world may have many different ideas about what makes up a good life, the Bible is pretty clear. The goal should not be to live the fullest life possible on this earth, rather the goal should be to attain eternal life. How does one do this? There is only one way to eternal life. Jesus is that way, the truth, and THE LIFE! John 12:25 "He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
As we continue our study of the Old Testament books Pastors Ben Libby and Nathanael Mayhew walk us through the book of Ezra. This is one of the historical books of the Old Testament, and fits into the time of Haggai and Zechariah and gives us the historical background for those books. It includes a lot of lists and families which can be difficult to pronounce but help us to understand that time frame where the book of Chronicles leaves off. The book picks up and covers the time of Ezra himself about 60 years later with another return of the captives and some of the reforms that were carried out by Ezra in his work and ministry. The purpose of the book is to show the fulfillment of God's promises to His people!
The word Passover comes up in all three of the Gospels connected to the events of Holy Week. Jesus gathered with His disciples on Maundy Thursday in the upper room of a house in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover for a final time before His death. It was here as they were celebrating the Passover, that Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper. But the real connection of Holy Week to the Passover is not just on Thursday night but in the events of Friday. Paul says that Jesus is our Passover, who was sacrificed for us. Jesus was the unblemished Lamb whose blood was shed to save us from death. Because of that, the Passover is not just an Old Testament celebration. It is for New Testament believers as well, as well look to the cross of Christ and see our Passover Lamb suffering death for the sins of the world.
As we come to the end of another Lenten season, Pastors Rob Sauers and Nathanael Mayhew discuss and describe the connection and celebration of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday (with Tenebrae) and Easter Vigil. These three services were once seen and celebrated as one service, beginning on Manudy Thursday, continuing on Good Friday and concluding with the Easter vigil on Saturday evening. They will describe the unique but powerful tradition associated with a Good Friday tenebrae service, or service of shadows which is also an ancient service, and the Easter vigil which points us to Easter. Learn more about these beautiful and meaningful services which are are often lost in our modern celebrations of the death and resurrection of our Savior.
How does Matthew differ from the other Gospels as he describes the events of Holy Week? During this Lenten study of Matthew's Gospel, Pastors Ben Libby and Nathanael Mayhew will highlight some of the unique features of Matthew's description of the final events of Christ life and ministry. Fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies play an important role. The words of Jesus take on a very small role, but the words of Jesus that He does record are directed to the Jewish people and the work which Jesus came to accomplish for them and all. Deepen your appreciation of Matthew and his perspective of Christ's suffering and death in this Lenten study!