Monday, December 27, 2010

Nothing Is As Over As Christmas

Click Here to Listen to the Sunday, December 26, 2010 Sermon by Pastor Chip Moody

Scripture Reference:  1Timothy 1:12-17

Nothing is as over as Christmas.

What are we left with after the decorations are taken down and the gifts are returned for exchange?  Is it back to business as usual?  Yes, as it must be. Christmas every day would mean the end of Christmas. It would simply be routine. 

But it should not be business as usual with our souls. We have just remembered and celebrated the most significant event of reality—the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. It would be sad, but expected, that we  go back to how we were before we once again let Advent remind us of what is of first importance.

This is our annual opportunity to make a Promise to God. But to know what to promise God on this last day of the year, I would like to look at a decidedly non-Christmas scripture passage.

In it I believe we find not only the meaning of Christmas, but the meaning of life. And we find it expressed by one man who is perhaps more surprised than any other that he has a part in God’s family.

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-- of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”   1 Timothy 1:12-17  

The Promise: Every day recognize Jesus as Savior.

We do it on Sundays as a church when we receive the Lord’s Supper. But you and I, individually, must every day set aside a moment to recognize Jesus’ coming.

How?  In your prayer closet, before your first cup of coffee, before you start your car on the way to work, at the moment you awaken. It doesn’t matter when. So long as it happens.

Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of which I am chief.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Christmas Cards You'll Never See

Click Here to Listen to the Sunday, December 19, 2010 Sermon by Pastor Chip Moody

Scripture Reference: Luke 2:21-35

Much of the Christmas Story I Never See in Greeting Cards.

The few Christmas cards that are religious tend to be foil-stamped icons showing Elizabethan-looking characters with halos, like the one of Mary receiving word of her impending pregnancy with all the surprise and terror of someone opening their electric bill.

I’ve never seen a card of Zechariah, father of John the B, being struck mute by the angel for his lack of faith.
Cards about the miraculous conception in Elizabeth of John the B don’t seem to sell well.
I’ve never seen a card depicting Herod’s slaughter of the newborns in Bethlehem.
And even when we do see the manger, it is professionally lighted.

If we were tell more of the Christmas story on greeting cards, it could help us visualize the rest of what it means for the Messiah to be born when and where he did.  Imagine a card showing a red-faced Mary (with her baby-bump) listening to yet another member of her village saying, “Do really expect us to believe that angel story of yours?”

We may sanitize our greeting cards, but there is no sanitizing the records of Matt and Luke.  When the angel told Mary about her impending pregnancy she responded as typically and humanly as you would.  “But I’m a virgin!”  Every year there are millions of teenage girls pregnant out of wedlock.  We’re so used to it we wonder what the fuss is anymore.  But for Mary, in her tightly knit Jewish community in the first century, few things could have been more scandalous. The law considered a betrothed woman who became pregnant by an adulteress subject to legal punishment. Put that on a greeting card.

Matthew tells of Joseph agreeing to divorce Mary privately rather than press charges, until an angel shows up to correct his perception of betrayal.  Luke tells of Mary hurrying off to the only other person who could possibly understand her  predicament—her relative Elizabeth, miraculously pregnant in her old age after yet another angelic announcement.  Elizabeth believes Mary and they share their joy.  Yet months later, while everyone is rejoicing with Elizabeth for her new son, Joseph brings Mary to Bethlehem for the census tax, but perhaps also to have this unplanned baby born quietly out of town. 

How many times did Mary, seeking some courage, run over in her mind the angel’s promise?  How many times did Joseph second-guess his own experience with God as he felt his hot shame at the expanding belly of his fiancĂ©e?  These were certainly not Hallmark moments.

In the gospels we also meet Simeon, who seems to truly understand what God was doing in mysteriously sending his Son. I have a Christmas card idea. Lets show Simeon holding the infant Messiah in his arms, with a sad look at Mary.  Inside the card we’ll write the words Simeon sang:

This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel,
and to be a miracle that will be reviled.
 And Mary, a sword shall stab your soul as well.”               
Merry Christmas from the Smiths.
So what do the sordid and complicated events of Mary, Joseph and others cause me to ask myself?  It is this:  If Jesus came to reveal God to us, then what do I learn about God from that first Christmas that I don’t find the greeting card industry inclined to tell me? I can think of many, but the one I want to share is this:

In Christ, God comes near enough to be terribly inconvenient to those who see him.  And isn’t that intimate intrusion exactly what we need to recognize him, submit to him, and worship him? (It isn’t as if we were going out of our way to find him.)

J. B. Phillips helps us understand this point of view and helps me escape my earthbound viewpoint. In his reimagining of Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained he shows us incarnation from an angelic perspective:

A senior angel is showing a very young angel around the splendors of the universe. They view whirling galaxies and blazing suns, and then flit across the infinite distances of space until at last they enter one particular galaxy of 500 billion stars. As the two of them drew near to the star which we call our sun and to its circling planets, the senior angel pointed to a small and rather insignificant sphere turning very slowly on its axis. It looked as dull as a dirty tennis-ball to the little angel, whose mind was filled with the size and glory of what he had seen.
     "I want you to watch that one particularly" said the senior angel, pointing with his finger.
     "Well, it looks very small and rather dirty to me," said the little angel. "What's special about that one?"    
     He listened in stunned disbelief as the senior angel told him that this planet, small and insignificant and not overly clean, was the renowned Visited Planet.
     The little angel's face wrinkled in disgust.  "Do you mean that our great and glorious Prince . . . went down in Person to this fifth-rate little ball?  Why should He do a thing like that? Do you mean to tell me that He stooped so low as to become one of those creeping, crawling creatures of that floating ball?"
     "I do, and I don't think He would like you to call them `creeping, crawling creatures' in that tone of voice.  For, strange as it may seem to us, He loves them.  He went down to visit them to lift them up to become like Him."
     The little angel looked blank. Such a thought was almost beyond his comprehension.

And it is almost beyond my comprehension too.  And yet I accept that this is why we have Christmas.  I believe this  touchstone of God’s revelation.  God came sneaking quietly down the back stairs as a humble baby to turn the universe inside out, very inconveniently, I might add, to himself. 

He did this so that we would see God come near;
so we can get close to him;
so that we would see that he loves us like no other.

So we can worship Him. Alleluia.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hope in Hard Times

Click Here to Listen to the Sunday, December 12, 2010 Sermon by Pastor Rodger S. Loar

Scripture References:  Job 29- 31, 38- 41 and Romans 5:1-8

When times are hare, it sure is easy to look back on the ‘Good Old Days’ through the tinted lenses of our imagination and memory.  Things must have been so much better then.  But, the truth is, the Good Old Days had their problems too.  Life is just hard at any age.
Instead of dwelling on the broken economy, on the things you no longer have, or on fears for the future, let’s take time to be thankful that our God gave us hope and grace through His son Jesus the Messiah.  The best way to get our eyes off our own woes is to serve others in their times of troubles.  As we celebrate Christ’s birth this year, here are some ways to put this in action:
1.       Take what you have, whether a little or a lot, and share with someone who has less than you.  Next time you are grocery shopping spend a little extra and buy a grocery store gift card.  As you leave the store, pray for God to show you someone who needs it.  Find a single mother with kids, an immigrant family, a homeless person, or just a shopper who looks like they may need help.  Hand them the gift card and say, “Merry Christmas.”  Then walk off and don’t let them know your name.  Just let the gift speak for itself.

2.       When you celebrate Christmas Eve or Christmas day this year, invite a neighbor over to join your family.  Have a present for them and a place of honor at the table.  This could be a lonely, elderly person, someone from your church, a needy family, or just a neighbor you need to get to know.

3.       Instead of spending huge amounts on Christmas presents for the family, take your kids and volunteer at a local ministry such as Neighborhood Ministries or the Phoenix Rescue Mission.  Donate money to one of these charities or to a local church ministry.  Teach your kids faithful service, sacrifice for others, and the value of people over things.
What better way to thank God for His mercy than to bring the Good Old Days to someone else. 
God bless you and have a Merry Christmas,
Pastor Rodger.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Applause from the Ordinary

Click Here to Listen to the Sunday, December 5, 2010 Sermon by Pastor Don Allen

Scripture Reference:  Luke 2:1-20

To help you reflect on the message of Jesus’ coming this season, consider these suggestions:

  1. Yesterday, we focused on what happened when the angel announced to the angels that the baby in Bethlehem was the Savior of the world. Read how the angel also appeared to Mary, the future mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-56), and also to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-25 and 1:57-80). These are long passages, but they are worth it.
  2. In the message, Don reminds us that the angels’ appearance to the shepherds would not show up in the normal news! Why do you think that God chose shepherds to announce Jesus’ birth, instead of the powerful, the politicians, or pop stars?
  3. The shepherds responded to the announcement with self-forgetful humility.  In other words, they didn’t think about the possibility of getting fired from their jobs (tending sheep in the fields) or what others thought about them (knocking on doors and telling neighbors about the Christ child). Think of a specific way you could practice self-forgetful humility this week. In other words, what one thing can you do this week that allows you to serve someone else without any expectation of receiving something in return?
  4. The shepherds also responded with praise and giving glory to God (read v. 20). How do you praise and glorify God? Try something creative to expand your worship. Imagine your neighbor asked you to write down the reasons why you worship God. Remember that praise is about the person you are praising and not about you. Write two sentences or short paragraphs and share your answers with someone else. Start with, “I praise God because He…..”
  5. “A Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.” This statement changed history. It can also change someone’s life. Ask God to show you someone who needs this world-changing good news. Now write a card to that person and include a note that shares this good news. Pray that God opens that person’s heart. Call the person next week and ask what they thought of the note!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jesus: King of Glory, Servant of All

Click Here to Listen to Sunday, November 28, 2010 Sermon by Pastor Chip Moody

Scripture Reference:  Isaiah 9:1-7, Isaiah 53, Matthew 20:25-28, Philippians 2:5-11

Israel in the time of Jesus birth wanted deliverance. But it did not want deliverance from sin and guiltiness before a God who wanted his children back in his arms.  They wanted instead political and cultural deliverance. After all, they were occupied by the Romans. Their leader, King, Herod, was a powerless puppet, a stooge for Caesar.  A nefarious Pontius Pilate was the treacherous procurator of Israel--what the government now called a Roman Territory.

So many started following Jesus because they had high hopes--hopes that this new potential Messiah was also their
potential military general.  (Even his name, Y’Shua, was the name Joshua, reminding them of a hero that led Israel into Promised Land.)  But many stopped following Jesus when they realized his true intention.

Jesus did not come to solve their political problems, nor to drive out the Roman soldiers guarding every street with sword and spear.  He did not come brandishing weapons of war. He did not come with a set of campaign promises to be forgotten after the election.  He did not come campaigning for general, national philosopher, or statesman for the Sanhedrin (the ancient Knesset).

Jesus of Nazareth was nothing that anyone expected, and few wanted.  He was not a King on a white steed marching gloriously into Jerusalem.  Instead he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and told Pilate he was a King--but not of a kingdom in this world.  He also would not rule with an iron fist.  But would instead teach his followers that one would be the greatest by being least of all, by serving others.

The point of all the above being, who is the Messiah Israel should have expected?

I submit to you that the prophets were very clear in describing a Messiah who was to be a King--yet a king who suffers.  A mighty prince--but one who brings peace with God, not peace with Rome.

Here is the King and Prince part:

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. . . For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”     
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7  

And here is the Suffering Servant part:

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.  6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.  8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.  9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.  10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.”  Isaiah 53:5-10  

All the political posturing of national leaders reminds me of an event in the NT:  

Matthew 20:25-28  tells how Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

So what does this mean for us?  How do we apply this message about the coming King so serves and suffers?

One word: Worship.

Holy, penitent, humble, searching worship of Jesus the Christ.

Philippians tells  us that Jesus, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be clung to, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Bow in worship of this Christ who has come to serve and lead you. It is up to you.

Please, make it happen this Christmas.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Joy of Generosity

Click Here to Listen to the Sunday, November 21, 2010 Sermon by Pastor Chip Moody

The Joy of Generosity

2 Kings 3:9-20
Lk. 12.15-21
2 Co 8.7
Malachi 3.10
Phil. 2: 6-9

 As I look through the scriptures searching for God’s words about generosity, I learn that there are some benefits to generosity. In fact, I wouldn’t expect to learn about these benefits just from observing life in general. I need God to reveal them to me in his word, or reveal them to me in my experience with him. 

I find three specific life-benefits--three spiritual results of generosity that affect me by their presence or absence in my life. In fact, they point to how God can transform us by our generosity. Said another way, it seems God does not bless us first so we can then be generous. Rather, he asks us to be generous first, so that then he will hand us his blessings for our faithful obedience.

Here are the three benefits of generosity:

1.  Practicing generosity is the only way to battle the monster of selfishness. Jesus himself taught that “it is better to give than to receive.” (Yes, that’s in the Bible, unlike “cleanliness is next to godliness.”)
Neglecting generosity is selling out to selfishness. I don’t want to be a sellout.   

2.  Practicing generosity allows God to grow us into whole people.

Many complain that their life is empty, or broken, or missing something. They are dissatisfied with their lives and feel as though they have no purpose. We desire wholeness. Completeness. We want to turn I Can’t Get No Satisfaction into a song like Come thou Fount of Every Blessing.

Wholeness is a great gift of God. Faith, speech, knowledge, zeal, and love are all disciplines leading to spiritual wholeness. Yet these are incomplete without the discipline of generosity.  Paul writes in 2 Co 8.7 the words “just as you excel in everything-- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us--see that you also excel in this grace of giving [emphasis added].

3.   Practicing generosity allows us to experience God!

Malachi 3:1o is often abused as a passage about tithing to the church, but it’s real wisdom is what we learn in it about the character of God.   Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.  [Malachi 3.10]  From this we learn that God reciprocates to our giving. We are generous toward him, then he responds with generosity toward us.

You may ask, “Why doesn’t God act generously first?” He does and he has!

“We love God because he loved us first.” [1 John 4:19]

Phi. 2: 6-9--  “You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature.  He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!  As a result God exalted him . . .”

My conclusion?  God is generous to us; so we should be generous to him.

Let’s do what is against our fallen nature and become obedient in giving.  Be generous toward God who has been generous to you in the gift of his Son for our redemption.

He gave of his best—oh, so generously.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Generosity Changes the World

Click Here to Listen to the Sunday, November 7, 2010 Sermon by Pastor Chip Moody.

Scripture Reference:  1Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19

In the Heart of God Lives Generosity

When Jesus said to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . for where you treasure is there will your heart be also,” he used an interesting reflexive phrase. He proclaims that by giving to others you store up “for yourselves.” Who doesn’t want to store up treasures for one’s self?  But Jesus says we can do this only by choosing not to make a priority of storing up for ourselves treasures on earth. (Matthew 6.19-21)

The passage in Timothy we learned from last Sunday is about learning to serve yourself by serving others. It is counterintuitive to the carnal mind that we can fulfill our needs for self-treasuring by sharing our treasure with others. Yet in verse 17 Paul commands the rich in this present world (that’s us Americans, incidentally) not to put their hope in wealth. If we have ever put our hope in wealth I think it has been cured for a while. We have learned in the last three years that the words “financial security” can be an oxymoron in a recession.

Rather than putting our hope in wealth, the Apostle says, Command them [we the rich] to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

Those are some powerful phrases that Paul loads into verses 18-19! Generous. Willing to share. Laying up treasure for the coming age. To take hold of Real Life.

Here are the lessons I learn from this passage, as well as Jesus’ words about generosity, care for the poor, and treasure in heaven:

Generosity toward God changes my thinking.
When we get it in our heads that God owns everything and entrusts it to us for management, then we will be more cognizant of God’s priorities when we get our paycheck. We will learn from the aftermath of foolish purchases. We will grieve over our inability to serve God with our generosity because of runaway debt. We will also begin to see our own greed and selfishness clearly for what it is.

Generosity toward God changes my actions.
We now behave like a trusted manager. Our hearts are now tied together with our money. Our giving becomes systematic—not occasional or inconsistent. We start “seeing” the poor and afflicted as those to whom god has called us to share of what we have.

Generosity toward God changes my feelings.
I am now willing to share.  (v. 18)  I now want to take hold of life that is really life. Most folks chase getting, spending and hoarding for me, me, me. God changes my feelings so I no longer think that making more money and spending it on me is the purpose of life. 

I now know that generosity is how we take hold of real living. I now feel cheerful when I give. A cheerful, satisfied giver. It is actually FUN to have set aside money (or my time, goods, presence, prayers, skills) with which to bless someone who is in need of it. And it isn’t always important for me to know if the recipient is “worthy” or “responsible” since it isn’t my money anyway. 


These three lessons above amount to a single principle for life that can guide me: WHEN GENEROSITY CHANGES ME, MY GENEROSITY WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.

Here are some parting words for the resistant:

I have heard from people time and again when they are challenged to become generous people toward God, “Once I have more, then I will give more to God.” To which I answer,No you won’t.”  You won’t because giving is a faith issue.  If you are faithful in little then you will be faithful in much.  In the parable of the stewards you will notice that the amount the stewards were responsible for wasn’t of concern to the master.  What mattered was their faithfulness.

Let’s not sugarcoat this friends.  The reason we are not generous people is because we think that our money and possessions belong to us.  Either we believe God owns everything or we don’t, and most folks don’t believe it. I want to be think differently, act differently, feel differently.  I want to be generous.  I feel good being generous.  I act a lot better when I am generous.  I think straighter when I’m generous. 

There is no more profound model of generosity that our Lord Jesus Christ, whose generosity in giving his life for all us ingrates is monumental. Let his generosity be our inspiration. Let us also “run the race with endurance that is set before us. fixing our eyes on Jesus . . . who for the joy set before him endured the cross.”  (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Monday, November 1, 2010

His Name Was Al

The Flame that I Lit in Memory of Pastor Al
and All the Others Who Have Passed the
Torch of the Gospel on for Generations.
What was that person's name?  You know the one.  They walked on your Journey with you awhile.  They encouraged you, brought you hope, loved you.  Perhaps they are the one who got you to think about God for the first time. 

For me, that person was Pastor Al.  He cared enough to go head-to-head with me and defeat all my objections to God.  He took the time to share Christ with me.  He changed my world and lit a fire in me that continues to this day.  I never got a chance to tell him in this life how thankful I am, but I know I will one day see him again in heaven and can thank him there.*

Sunday was All Hallows Eve and today is All Saints Day.  Though many have connected these dates with pagan holidays, they are actually Christian holidays.  Yes, the Celts celebrated Samhain around this time, but many cultures have celebrated death at this time of year.  Though we Americans live in a time of abundance, much of the world through most of our history have not.  This time of year was when harvest was finishing and it was time to consider the long winter ahead, wondering if your family would survive till spring.  Without electricity, the longer nights meant greater darkness and fear of those things that controlled the night.  It's only natural to contemplate our mortality in these times.

All Saints is a time of hope.  We remember those who have gone before us and take encouragement and hope because of what they brought us.  Sorrow and Joy are just two sides of the same coin when we consider those we've lost.

A single lamp can light a room, but thousands can light the world.  If we take any hope or encouragement from those that shared their Journey of faith with us before, then it is our absolute responsibility to honor them by sharing our faith and hope with others.

Our All Saints Celebration this last Sunday was about that very idea.  As one match lights another and another, so too, someone shared with you and you must share your story with others. 

Please listen through our service below.  Contemplate those you've lost and then turn that into action. 

* More about Pastor Al can be heard in the sermon link below and you can read the full story on my personal blog by clicking this link.

All Saints Celebration Service - Mountain View Christian Church 2010:

Scripture Reference: Matthew 28:19-20

Click on each link to listen to the Sunday, October 31, 2010 Service. 

Welcome & Explanation of All Saints Celebration - Pastor Rodger S. Loar

Readings & Solo - Sarah Drum, Erin Paige, Rebecca Loar, Sharon Vincent (Readings) & Shellie Allen (Solo)

"His Name Was Al" Sermon by Pastor Rodger S. Loar

Songs of Remembrance, Prayer & Offering - Daniel Vincent and Earl Lewis

Communion & Sacred Space - Pastor Rodger S. Loar & Sharon Vincent (Piano)

Songs of Praise & Benediction - MVCC Praise Team

Monday, October 25, 2010

Interview on the Global Forum on Human Trafficking

Slavery didn't end with Abraham Lincoln.  It exists today and is a larger problem than ever before.  Largely ignored by the media, this plague affects women and children (and men too) world wide.  This isn't just a problem for other countries, it happens here in the United States.  Even worse, part of our economy is built on slavery and you probably don't even know it.  The chocolate you eat, the coffee you drink and the clothes on your back just may have been touched by slaves. 

The Not For Sale Campaign works against slavery.  They recently held a Global Forum on Human Trafficking in Yorba Linda, California to address these issues.

Two women from MVCC attended this Forum and have brought back a report for us.  Amber Tappe, our Student Ministries Director has long had a heart for the downtrodden around the world.  Liana Wolfe is the Director of Mountain View Christian Preschool and has travelled to Cambodia as an advocate for Rapha House, an organization that helps young girls out of sex slavery in South East Asia. 

Click Here to Listen to Pastor Rodger S. Loar Interview Amber and Liana

What can you do about this?
  1. Visit the Not For Sale website and educate yourself:
  2. Visit the Fair Trade USA website to educate your self:
  3. Visit the Rapha House website:
  4. Look for the Fair Trade symbol on you coffee, chocolate, and clothing (pictured below)
  5. Watch your local and national news for stories on slavery.  They are actually quite common.
  6. Contact MVCC at (602) 955-9414 or by email at for more ways you can help.

Who is My Neighbor

Click Here to Listen to the Sunday, October 24, 2010 Sermon by Pastor Don Allen

Scripture Reference:  Luke 10:25-37

Imagine that you are watching an old Western movie about a town in the Wild West. Like Tombstone, maybe. Suddenly the townspeople see a lone Apache walking down the middle of main street. There is a man flopped across his saddle, with two arrows in his back. Hitching his horse, he carries the wounded man into the saloon and lays him on a table. Handing the barkeep a bag of coins, he says, “Please find this man a room and patch him up. I’ll come back in a week and check on him. Charge me for all his expenses. Let’s get this man healed up.”

Many who read the Story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) will think that the moral of the story is to answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?” But as we discovered in yesterday’s message, this story is about how people show mercy to each other, in spite of their differences.

There are many forces around us who want to shape our beliefs about people. Many are afraid of people who look and act differently than us. Jesus reminds us to look upon people as God sees them. He also reminds us that mercy is not a feeling; it is an action.

You have an opportunity today to take action, to show mercy to others. There are many opportunities. Here are a few of them:
  1. Help our youth prepare for summer camp by helping prepare for our rummage sale this weekend. Come down to the office any day this week and help us sort and price everything.
  2. If you have not signed up for our Season of Service, why not call the church office today and tell Rodger or Sharon which project you will help with?
  3. You may remember our friend Meer Nasrullah, the Kurdish youth who sometimes attends our church with his mother and brother. He is awaiting trial for murder, but we believe that God is not finished with him yet! Let’s shower him with acts of mercy. One way we are doing this is to send 365 postcards to him. Call Don and Karen at 480-699-8794 or write them at, and offer to buy postcards or to write words of encouragement.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lessons from Acts 18:1-11

Click to Listen to the Sunday, October 17, 2010 Sermon by Pastor Harry Douglass of Team Expansion

Scripture Reference: Acts 18:1-11

Harry and his wife De are a missionaries for Team Expansion sent by Mountain View Christian Church.  Theye work with Hispanic migrant workers along the West Coast, planting house churches from California to Oregon.

Harry also has a ministry among Cubans, having visited Cuba nine times to help train leaders for the churches there.  If you are interested in Harry's ministry or Team Expansion, visit the Team Expansion website at 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Every Heart a Battlefield

Click Here to Listen to the Sunday, October 10, 2010 Sermon by Pastor Chip Moody

Scripture Reference:  1Peter 4:1-6 and 1Peter 4:12-19

“Every Heart a Battlefield”

Sunday we talked about what it means to be a hero. What exactly is a hero? 

We decided a hero is not a what, but a who.  We also decided that a hero is someone who suffers or expends their life in service to another. Suffers or expends their life. This leaves out classes of persons like professional athletes, Hollywood actors, and politicians, the people who are often cited as “heroes” when they are actually only “celebrities.”

We also learned from several scriptures in addition to 1 Peter 4, that our hero is Jesus Christ. His suffering on the cross was done for us. Now that seems strange to say. “He died for us, but we weren’t even there?” some might ask.  It’s a good question. And one that prompts us to do a little high-brow theology.

Are ready to do some brainwork on the subject? If so, then let’s talk about atonement.

Atonement is a word the Bible uses when it speaks of Jesus dying for us, or dying in our place. When we say things like, “Jesus died for my sins” or “Jesus died so that I might live,” we are engaging in atonement talk.  We see this kind of talk in well-known and oft-quoted Bible passages such as:

Romans 6.6  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with…”

Galatians 2:20  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Romans 8.1 “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

If you were to ask theologians how Jesus’ atonement actually takes place they would tell you about five major theories of the atonement: Governmental, moral influence, penal substitution, ransom, and satisfaction. There are other theories of lesser influence among theologians, but these are the main ones that have help up the best historically.

I think that the Bible supports more than one of these theories, but the one theory of the atonement that is most obviously supported in the Bible is the penal substitution theory: Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners. In doing so God imputed the guilt of our sins to Christ who bore the punishment that we deserve. This atonement made full payment for sins, which satisfied the demands of God’s wrath against sin. In this way the righteousness of God allowed him to forgive sinners without compromising His own holy standard.

More scriptures that bear this out:

Isaiah 53:6   "the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
Isaiah 53:12  "yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors."
Romans 3:25-26   “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--  26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
2 Corinthians 5:21  "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
Galatians 3:13   "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us -- for it is written, Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree."
Hebrews 10:10   “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

So strong is the evidence for the penal substitutionary atonement it is considered by most scholars to be a doctrine of scripture, not just a theory of atonement. I am one of those who believe this to be the case.

So now, when someone asks you some arcane question about “how exactly did Jesus die for me?” you can say, “It was a penal substitutionary atonement.”  Just make sure you know how to explain it!

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.