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Just Do It
2016.06.20 20:56:16

                                                                                                                                     

 “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” Luke 22:15

                                                                                                                                      

Once upon a time a super spiritual couple came to church.  Their righteousness soon became obvious to everyone.  They carried huge study Bibles.  They were doctrinally correct and didn’t mind telling you so.  The deepest mysteries of theology that Godly scholars have studied through the ages?  This couple had all that figured out.  They also didn’t mind setting you straight if you seemed confused.

 

    They had the Christian life all figured out.  They knew how to talk and dress like Christians.  Their kids were more holy than anyone else’s kids.  They stood against all the right things, from Harry Potter to Halloween, to The Simpsons.  They didn’t read novels, watch movies, use tobacco products, vote for democrats, or buy on credit.  And they didn’t have any tattoos or piercings.

 

They were very careful to do everything “God’s Way”.  

 

 But I noticed something about this couple.  They were ungracious.   They were unloving.

They erected barriers between people.  They hurt feelings.  They destroyed relationships.  They drove people away from Jesus instead of inviting people closer to Jesus. 

 

For them, being right and correct was the most important thing, along with making sure that everyone else knew they were right and correct.  They had left a trail of broken relationships in churches all over, but they were right and correct about everything.

    

So it struck me as very curious when they skipped communion.  Habitually.

   

They didn’t have time.  They were in a hurry.  They had other things to do.  It just wasn’t important.  After all, you don’t have to take The Lord’s Supper to be saved, right? 

 

Well, yeah, but….  Jesus said if you love me you will obey my commands.  And what could be simpler than taking communion?  I mean, as far as commands go, that’s not as hard as loving your neighbor, or avoiding gossip, or praying without ceasing, or giving thanks in everything. 

 

 Jesus didn’t command us to figure out every little question of doctrine and theology.  He just said, “Do This.”  That seems pretty plain and simple to me.  But this simple command requires gathering in loving kindness with radically flawed brothers and sisters.  I guess some people are above all that.

 

     The most “spiritual” people know how to obey Jesus wholeheartedly in the simple things.

 

This super spiritual couple moved on.  Last I heard they were looking for something “deeper”.

 

I hope they find what they’re looking for, but I don’t think they will.  If you won’t obey Jesus in a simple thing like “Do This in Remembrance of Me” you won’t be going very deep.

 

I’ll see you at the next Lord’s Supper!

 

Pastor John Flowers



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admin
A Chaplain’s Work
2016.06.14 15:48:28

Since May of 2008 I have served on active duty with the Air National Guard here in Fargo. 

As the Wing Chaplain, I serve as the senior pastor for over 1100 airmen.  I visit them every day at their work stations, in their break rooms, at meal times, and wherever their duties take them.  In t

John-guard

he military, we call visitation “ministry of presence.”  It means just being there with the troops as a friendly, calming presence in the middle of stressful military situations.

    As a chaplain, I have a heavy counseling load.  Airmen and soldiers come to me every day with marriage problems, single  adult problems, suicidal thoughts, depression, substance abuse, and combat stress.  I listen, provide guidance, and refer them to other professionals who can help.  Many times they come to me with questions about Jesus.  These are my favorite conversations because I get to share about His mercy and grace for all sinners.

    I have the responsibility of teaching many classes on such topics as suicide prevention, violence prevention, and anger management.  I teach the National Guard’s marriage enrichment retreats and single’s retreats.  I teach soldiers and airmen (and their families) how to handle the challenges of deployment and coming back home again.

    I am responsible for supervising a staff of two other officer chaplains and three enlisted chaplain assistants.  The base commander looks to me for advice about moral and ethical issues.  I am often called to give guidance to supervisors in dealing with troubled airmen.

    My saddest duty is to accompany casualty assistance officers when we knock on a door to tell a loved one that their service member has died. Remember to lift up in prayer all the families of those who have died.  Ask for God’s grace to carry them through.

    On drill weekends I have two congregations, one at the base, and one at Living Hope.

I love the opportunity to share God’s love and the truth of His Word with airmen every drill weekend.

    Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to serve in this vital ministry!

   Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel….Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should.  Ephesians 6:19-20



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cbueno
A Cup of Motor Oil in My Name
2016.06.13 22:13:31

A Cup of Motor Oil in My Name

John Flowers

 

     How do you feel when your car won’t start? Or when you get stuck on the road somewhere because of a mechanical break down? If you are a member of Living Hope, your first thought likely is, “I need to get a hold of the car guys.”

     Years ago, Bret Ferguson noticed something. God blessed many at Living Hope with the talent and interest to work on cars. And Bret noticed that many people struggle with car trouble. Some can only afford marginal transportation. Some get smacked with major repairs that come up suddenly, straining family finances. Some need routine auto maintenance that is difficult to accomplish because they are on an extremely tight budget and don’t know how to do maintenance themselves.   Some people enjoy getting an accurate diagnosis of a car problem from our car guys, so they can take it to a mechanic for repair.

     In Fargo, it is not feasible to walk, ride a bike, or even stand at a bus stop through the five cold months of the year. How to meet people’s practical need for transportation, while sharing the love of Jesus with them?

     In the fall of 2002, God called Bret to establish a unique and creative ministry for meeting people’s needs, while using the talents of God’s people: Car Care Clinic.

     Over the years, the Living Hope Car ministry has saved people tens of thousands of dollars, assisted people in all kinds of car emergencies, and demonstrated the love of Jesus in a very practical way to our church family and members of the community around us.

     Three years ago, we experienced a MIRACLE of GOD when an anonymous donor gave us the money to build the beautiful garage that houses our car ministry.

     We don’t have the resources to help everybody, all the time. But the Word of God commands us over and over to care for the needy. So God gave Living Hope the Car Care Clinic as a practical way to put these Biblical commands into action:

 

If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites….do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need..… 10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart… Deuteronomy 15:7-1

 

17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:17-18

 

     One way that you can be open handed, generous, share material possessions, and put love in action is to join what God is doing at Living Hope through our Car ministry.

 

     God called Living Hope to this ministry by equipping so many of us with interests and gifts to do it and support it. He miraculously provided a place to do it.

 

     Now, God is calling you to be a part of it.   Would you consider giving at least one hour on the third Saturday of the month? Here are some practical ways you can be involved in this Ministry of Mercy:

 

-Provide lunch for the car guys

-Be here to provide connection, friendship, and Gospel conversations with our clients

 -Be a parts runner or “gofer”

 -Help with clean up

 -Vacuum cars and wash windows

 -Learn how to do routine maintenance such as oil changes

 -Help with paper work and administrative functions

 -Provide financial support

 -Consider bringing your car for routine maintenance, and give a love offering to the ministry rather than $35 to an oil change shop

 

-Spread the word to people who need car help

 

 Learn more

Contact Us

 

 



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