One way God is talking to you right now by PASTOR JON HUIZENGA River Rock Church I was camping the other night, out in the woods, at 11 p.m., away from light. The night sky was beautiful. I identified a few constellations and wished I knew more. The sight distances are so vast! I regretted how many nights I settle for a ceiling over my head, artificial light, and some screen with its shallow content. God talks outdoors! Look in the sky at night and you can almost hear God quietly and powerfully say, “Yes, I am here.” Did you know that the Bible says God talks outdoors? Here it is, Psalm 19: “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech. Night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” Look for God outdoors. He is there speaking about his majesty. It is a shame to miss him, so look. You spend too much time indoors: Ceiling above your head, artificial light, building sounds (fans, pumps, compressors), indoor smells (cologne, food, staleness). Have you noticed how being outdoors relaxes you? The sky is big. The smells are nice (usually). The light is pleasant. One thing you miss indoors is that sense of power. God is speaking about his vastness and his power out there in the sky and we humans stay in our rectangular rooms. Of course, we have to go to work. Of course, we must escape harsh weather. But God talks outdoors in a way that we shouldn’t miss. One more thing: No matter where you are on planet Earth, no matter what language people are speaking, no matter what culture is present, human beings are hearing this voice of God. Tom in Michigan and Kaaya in Tanzania hear the same God-voice in a language they can understand. Soon it will be getting colder and you will have to put forth more effort to be out there. Now, however, it is easy to get out there. Go outside! God is waiting to talk to you. Oh, and while you are out there, say “Hi” back.
Pastor Jon Huizenga
A pat on the back, kick in the seat by PASTOR JON HUIZENGA River Rock Church A quick scan of Facebook shows people are processing their return to life after the holidays. Some are depressed. Some are unmotivated. A few are launching full speed ahead. How are you? Personally, I’m a mixture: part melancholy, part gung-ho. At times like this, I can use both a pat on the back and a kick in the seat. The following is working for me, maybe it will for you: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight,” the Bible, Proverbs 3:5-6. This is a popular excerpt from the “wisdom” literature in the Bible. It is about how to live a successful life. I see in it God saying three things: 1. Trust me. 2. Acknowledge me. 3. Get there (Doing the first two will result in the third). The “Trust me” section is the pat on the back. The hard part of this new year is its uncertainty. You wonder whether you’ll experience all that life has to offer. Christmas and New Year’s Eve, for good or bad, are over. They were what they were. Will the future be enough? Will it be good? I hear God saying, “Stop trying to be me. You don’t have to have all the answers. What you need is to trust me with all your heart.” The “Acknowledge me” section is the kick in the seat. Since you are not God, get off the throne and acknowledge that He belongs on it! Yes, that takes commitment. If He’s on the throne, He deserves attention. Start reading the Bible; get involved in a local church where you can grow. If you need help, e-mail me at email@example.com. I’ll help you find a way to start. But this isn’t just for beginners. Involved Christians are prone to kicking God off the throne periodically and need to be reminded to get it together. Stop whining and do what you need to do! The “Get there” section is about the peace that comes from trusting and acknowledging God. We may not even know where “there” is […]
Christmas by PASTOR JON HUIZENGA River Rock Church Luke chapter 2, verses 8-12, read: “8—And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9—An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10—But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11—Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12—This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’” Retailers are good advertisers, aren’t they? God is pretty good, too. He announced the coming into the world of his son, the Son of God, in big ways. One of them is the above-described appearance to shepherds by an angel. Very striking. Very attention-getting. A comment about angels: In the Bible, the human reaction to an angel is usually that of the shepherds, fear. Our picture of angels as cute, pudgy babies with wings doesn’t quite do them justice. This angel is majestic and scary. He has to tell people “do not be afraid.” Just something to keep in mind in case you bump into one someday. More to the point, this Bible excerpt reports what God has to say about Christmas: Jesus’ birth is good news which creates joy. It is the celebration of a Savior for the world’s people. Jesus is worthy of the titles “Messiah” and “Lord.” Messiah means anointed one and refers to the earlier Bible promises that God would send this person. Lord refers to one having authority or power. If Jesus really is all those things, you can love him or hate him, but you can’t ignore him. You need to decide what you will do with him. God is not playing hard to get. He is shouting to us from the hill tops! Are you ready and willing to receive Jesus as your “Lord”? If I can help you sort that out, send me e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dying: disappointing not devastating Pastor Jon Huizenga, River Rock Church My dad was disappointed to die. He died at 70 from a disease discovered about 6 months earlier. His own father had died at age 95, so my dad had expected more time. He was disappointed, but he was not devastated. I remember a phone call to the hospital in which my dad regaled me with his experience of reading the Gospel of John’s account of Jesus. He said, “I love Jesus!” He meant that he loved everything about Jesus – his love for people, his words to people, his dying to save people from their sin, his promise to “prepare a place for you” to his disciples. There was a glimmer in his voice of enthusiasm to be with Jesus. That was the reason that he was disappointed, but not devastated. I thought about that as Easter came and went. We (you and I) have known such wonderful people to whom we’ve had to say goodby! This dying has been disappointing, to them and to us. It’s been enough to make us cry. Have you cried? Christians believe that something unique on planet earth happened when Jesus rose from the dead. He claimed to be the Son of God. That claim was attested by God’s sending angels and Magi at his birth, by many miracles showing his authority over man and matter, and by his willing suffering and death for our sin. He announced ahead of time that he would suffer, die, and rise on the third day. He said it often. Then he did! Exactly as he had said. That resurrection is God’s guarantee or down payment ensuring our resurrection. So the Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” My time will come. And, if I get the chance, I will be disappointed. But, I won’t be devastated. How about you? Want to talk about it? Email me – email@example.com
Wanted: a good friend by PASTOR JON HUIZENGA River Rock Church Recently I heard a mom say that the nicest thing a friend had done for her was to have brought a meal over when she really needed it. Not having that one detail hanging over her head meant a lot. A friend like that is fantastic—and unusual. You need a good friend. Someone needs you to be his or her good friend. What would that friendship look like? Here is a summary of the Bible book called “Proverbs” on the subject: • Constant—“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity,” Proverbs 17:17. • Candor—“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses,” Proverbs 27:6. • Counsel—“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another,” Proverbs 27:17. • Considerate—“Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house—too much of you, and he will hate you,” Proverbs 25:17. I smile at that last one. Good friends even know when it is time to go. Spiritually speaking, Jesus tells us that the very thing that will show him to the world is our treating each other like that. (His actual words: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” John 13:35.) So, my encouragement to you is: When you’ve enjoyed your reading of the Squire, get off your chair and go be a good friend!