Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Greatest Worship Concert in History

Click Here to Listen to the Sermon for Sunday, January 29, 2012 by Pastor Rodger S. Loar

Scripture Reference: Nehemiah 12:27-47
The Greatest Praise Concert of All Time!

What do you do when life takes a turn for the better? What happens when you’ve been in the depths of depression and despair and you finally come back into the light?  What’s next when you’ve gone from unimaginable grief to unspeakable joy?

You praise God!
Our only hope in this world is God and when He gets you through all of that, you worship Him with everything you’ve got.

Nehemiah and his people encountered that.  They came from absolute defeat to total victory.  So they threw the greatest praise concert of all time.  They mounted two choirs on either side of the city of Jerusalem, on top of the walls, and they sang and played instruments and praised God with total abandon.
Imagine what it would be like to worship God with all you have.  Picture the joy, the passion, the crazy, wild fever of love for God.  It’d be like Times Square at midnight on New Years, but even better.

That’s what heaven is described like in Revelations 7:9-10.
But we don’t have to wait.  Surrender yourself to the Lord.  Express your thankfulness and love for Him throughout your life.  Sing of His great works, dance for Him, raise your hands, and stomp your feet.

Next Sunday when you are in church, don’t worry about what those around you might think: worship with all you have and everything you are. 

Pastor Rodger

Turning Back to God

Scripture Reference: Nehemiah 8-10
Turning Back to God
When was the last time you wept at hearing God’s word?  Have you ever?  Has God’s word every broken your heart?  Have you ever stopped to consider the depth of your sin, the distance between a sinful human being and a holy God? 
In Nehemiah, the people wept upon hearing God’s word. They realized that they had been away in a foreign land.  They realized that they had lost touch with God.  They realized that more than their physical city was lost, their very holiness was gone too.  So, they wept.
Nehemiah reminded them that this day was holy and that called for joy and rejoicing. 
The same holds true for us.  God’s grace is cause for ultimate rejoicing.
But sometimes I wonder if we need to take a moment.  Let’s stop and not rush to the rejoicing without first recognizing how far away from God we are, how much we need Him to rescue us.  When we realize that, then the joy at knowing that Christ died to bring us back in reconciliation with God will be that much more powerful.
Let me encourage you to take some time in the coming weeks.  As you read God’s word, as you listen to sermons, as you pray to Him; take a little extra time to explore the gulf that lays between you and Him, so you can better experience the joy at knowing that He reached out to you across that divide.
Pastor Rodger

Leading the Way through Troubles

Click Here to Listen to the Sermon for Sunday, January 15, 2012 by Guest Speaker, Pastor Josh Anderson

Scripture Reference: Nehemiah 4-6

I recently heard a quote from a friend:

“Management is about taking care of what you have; leadership is about moving forward.”

As Nehemiah built the Jerusalem wall to protect the God’s people so they could worship in peace, the threats of physical harm, exhaustion and poverty were constant. Instead of “managing” the problems, Nehemiah stayed focused on the task at hand: to build the wall. It was what God had called him to do. He was not going to be deterred in moving forward with the task. When the obstacles arose, he prayed fervently, believed that God was working, and decisively acted toward the problem and the goal. And in fifty-two days, the wall was built!

Where do you need to take decisive action in your relationship with God? Are you moving forward or are you dealing with what you have? Are you leading decisively, or are you managing hesitantly? Following God means leading, not managing. Whatever obstacles may come, don’t let them deter you from the focus in your life: to build the wall!

Pastor Josh Anderson

From Discouragement to Action

Click Here to Listen to the Sermon for Sunday, January 08, 2012 by Pastor Don Allen

Scripture Reference: Nehemiah Chapters 1-3

What challenges do you face today that tempts you to give up? Is your faith in God challenged to the point that you doubt His faithfulness? Today’s Bible Blog invites you to explore these questions by reviewing Nehemiah’s life.

As you learned in yesterday’s message, Nehemiah was a key official in the Persian Empire (as ‘cupbearer to the king’ (see Nehemiah 1:11), Nehemiah functioned as a top advisor). Like many Jews who lived in Persia during the years of exile from Palestine, Nehemiah was keenly interested in the welfare of his homeland. In fact, Ezra the scholar-priest took a group of fellow priests to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple, which was the center of worship for the Jewish people. After 14 years, the Temple was nearly finished.

You might expect that Nehemiah would be encouraged by the restoration of God’s temple, but in fact he was heartbroken! The reason: the walls surrounding the Temple and the city of Jerusalem were destroyed, leaving both the city and God’s Temple vulnerable to its enemies. Unless someone rebuilds the walls, the Temple would fall and Ezra’s mission would fail. Nehemiah was deeply troubled by this, because God’s reputation was at risk. The people of the Empire may mock the God of the Hebrews. Why would anyone believe in the God of the Jews, if He cannot even protect His place of worship?

This story teaches us a lot about God’s character and how He uses His people to accomplish His purposes. As you face your faith challenges, consider Nehemiah’s life and what he does to restore God’s honor.

1.       Read Nehemiah 1:1-4. In v.4, how does Nehemiah respond to the news from Jerusalem? How is this different or similar to what you did when you last responded to bad news?

2.       Read verses Nehemiah 1:5-11. List the ways that Nehemiah describes God’s nature in this prayer. After listing this, try to summarize the part of God’s character that Nehemiah focuses on in his prayer.

3.       Based on what you discovered from Nehemiah’s prayer to God, how would you change your prayer to God when you face difficult situations?

4.       How grieved are you about the physical and spiritual state of God’s people? Enough to mourn? To fast? To pray? What do you think is God telling you to do about this?

5.       When faced with the spiritual brokenness of other people (or other dangers), some are tempted to cast blame, or to become angry at the terrible state of things. Still others pray and act. What do you think God is telling you to do about this?

Pastor Don

Rebuilding the Wall

Click Here to Listen to the Sermon for Sunday, January 01, 2012 by Pastor Rodger S. Loar

Scripture Reference: Nehemiah 8:10, Romans 8:28, 2Samuel 11:1-27

 Is God at Work in Your Life?
As we read Nehemiah, we see that God can work through non-believers to accomplish His goals.  And, He can definitely use believers to accomplish His goals.  God was at work in this world, helping the Jews get back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple, rebuild the wall, and rebuild the city.  God was at work in history and God is at work today.

That’s right, He is at work in your life today.  Did you know that?  Have you stopped to notice what He is doing?
This year, we are rebuilding.  We, at MVCC, are working on rebuilding our church body and rebuilding the individuals within.  This year, we invite you to take notice that God is at work in you and He is at work in us.

Like Nehemiah, we may look at this task as daunting, but it can be done.  Like Nehemiah, we will have threats from the outside, people who don’t like faith, don’t like Christians, and don’t want to hear from us.  We will also deal with threats from the inside: gossips, complainers, and the like.  But we are God’s people and we know that He is at work, so we just need to look for the places that He is at work and join Him!
Make a commitment this year to turn back to God, to rebuild your relationship with Him, and to become active in the work that needs to be done.

Pastor Rodger

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I’m Here, You’re Here, We’re Here, They’re Here, and He’s Here… Now What?

Click Here to Listen to the Christmas Day Sermon for Sunday,December 25, 2011 by Pastor Rodger S. Loar

Scripture Reference:  Ephesians 2:10

Sometimes the message just needs to be short and sweet.  Works don’t save us.  We cannot earn salvation.  We cannot buy God’s love.  It’s a free gift that we just need to accept.  Once we have accepted and decided to follow Jesus, he does have some work for us to do, not to pay him back (as if we ever could!), but out of love for Him and for all the other people in this world whom He loves also.

Service is a form of worship and obedience to God.  He calls us to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, help the widow, provide for the orphan, give shelter to the homeless, clothes to the naked, and truth to those who don’t know Him yet. 

At Mountain View, we often discuss ways we can do this.  Here are a few:

1.       Serve some meals at a local homeless shelter.

2.       Take food to the elderly shut-in down the street, then sit there and spend time with him or her.

3.       Buy a grocery gift card next time you go shopping and then take it out in the parking lot and look for someone who could use it.  Perhaps that mom with several children.  Perhaps that elderly gentleman who doesn’t look like he has much.  Perhaps the person asking for help in the parking lot.  Or maybe the person elsewhere in your life that you know is struggling.

4.       Give money to your church Benevolence fund so we can help others who often show up at the church office looking for assistance.

5.       Volunteer as a mentor through the Boy Scouts, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, or a similar program.

There are many selfish ways to spend your life, doing things for yourself or for your immediate family and friends.  But, I challenge you to spend your time and money serving others, being generous and loving even when it’s difficult.  I promise you that your life will be much more rewarding.
Pastor Rodger

Why Is He Here?

Click Here to Listen to the Christmas Eve Sermon for Saturday,December 24, 2011 by Pastor Rodger S. Loar

Scripture Reference:  Ephesians 2:8-9

“Why is He Here?”  There is no better or more appropriate question to ask on Christmas.  This holiday isn’t about Santa, Frosty, Rudolph, Trees, or Mama’s shoes.  Those things are all fine, but ultimately, Christmas is about Christ.  It’s about the promised one, God’s son, who came to bring reconciliation between God and humankind.  It’s about a baby, born in a manger, who would one day grow up to die on a cross, not as an example of spirituality, but as an actual sacrifice to pay for each and every one of our sins.

God offers everybody a free gift through Jesus Christ.  The free gift is eternal salvation, eternal life with God.  He also offers you a chance at a new life.  No matter who you are, no matter what you have done, no matter where you have been, no matter whom you have hurt or who has hurt you, no matter what!!! God gives you a chance at a new start, a clean slate, a fresh beginning.

It’s kind of like an Etch-a-sketch.  Remember that toy from your child hood.  You could try to draw something perfect, but that’s almost impossible.  But no matter what you drew, you could always shake it and wipe it clean.

Your life is like that.  You can start over with God. 

Each of us needs God.  There is a place in everyone’s heart that calls out for God. 

He’s there waiting.

If you would like to know God, please don’t wait.  Give me a call at (602) 955-9414 or visit us on some Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. and we’ll help show you the way.  We aren’t perfect, nor do we expect you to be.  We are all just people walking together on a Journey.  At Mountain View, we say, “Life is a Journey, You don’t have to walk alone.” 

We hope that you will join us on that Journey together.

Pastor Rodger

Why Are They Here?

Click Here to Listen to the Sermon for Sunday, December 18,2011 by Pastor Rodger S. Loar

Scripture Reference:  1Tim 2:1-7, 2Peter 3:9, John 3:16-17

Why are They Here?  Why does God have people here on earth that don’t believe in Him or don’t know Him?  He could just make everyone believe.  So, why are they here?

Most people live their life like the game of life.  They make their decisions almost randomly, like with dice or spinners.  They take life as it comes and live as if this is all there is.  Do they get married?  Maybe.  Do they get divorced? Maybe.  School?  Sure.  Buy a home? Have a Child? Buy a car or go on a vacation?  Possibly.  How do you know if you win?  Why, by the amount of money and stuff you have.  Or, by the amount of pleasure you’ve found this year.  Their lives amount to a frenetic rush of entertainment and busy-ness in order to ignore the inconvenient and terrifying truth that one day this life will be over.

Then, it happens.  They come in to work one day and the boss gives them the pink slip.  Perhaps they lose their home to foreclosure.  Maybe, they get arrested or sued.  Or, the doctor gives that terrible diagnosis.  Or, a loved one dies.  Suddenly, all that other stuff doesn’t matter so much and they begin looking for the real meaning of it all.

Now that they are at this point…  Where do they find meaning?  Where can the go for truth?  Hope?  Salvation?

2Peter 3:9 and 1Tim 2:4 tells us that God wants all people to come to know him, and that he is patient, giving them a chance to know his love. 

We, as God’s people, are the very living example of this.  Few of us are descended from the people of Israel who were God’s original chosen people.  No, we are a new people who God has allowed to be added in, through the grace of Jesus Christ.  We have received the gift of God’s patience, till we came to him, and now we need to recognize that others receive this.  We are called to pray for the people of this world.  Pray for them, love them where they are, and share our faith in a gentle and sincere way.

One day, a time will come when they are open to hear.  And God will be patient with them, just as he was with us.

Pray for your friends, your family, your neighbors, your coworkers.  Don’t be afraid, don’t be selfish, and don’t fall for the lie that anything else, other than Jesus Christ can save them.  Be there for them, love them, and earn the right to share your story with them.

Pastor Rodger

Why Are We Here?

Click Here to Listen to the Sermon for Sunday, December 11,2011 by Pastor Rodger S. Loar

Scripture Reference:  Matthew 5:13-16

Why is the church here?  That is, what purpose do we serve here on this earth?  There are some people who would see the church as the police of the world, demanding obedience to God and requiring them to change to follow a set of rules.

That’s not why we are here.

Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount (found in Matthew 5-7 in the Bible) tells us that we are to be a light to the world.  Light is a powerful thing.  If you’ve ever driven in the desert in the middle of the night, you can see the city coming up from many miles away, just from the light on the horizon.  It’s a good feeling when you are worn out from traveling all night, to see that light, that hope, in the distance

The church is here to be like that city.  We are here to point the way for others to find Christ.  Like a guide, we are to show the way to Christ, to demonstrate the hope of salvation that comes only from him.  Our actions, our faithfulness, and our love should reveal that God is there and that He loves the world. 

In this season of Christmas and throughout the year, here are some ways to be that bright, shining light of hope:

  1. Be generous and giving:  share your money and your time with those in need.
  2. Have integrity:  Know that your coworkers, your employees, your friends and your neighbors can see the choices you make.
  3. Share your story: Let people know how God has changed you, let people know how struggle and how you are overcoming the problems you face.

Be a light –

Pastor Rodger