Our Freedom by PASTOR MICHAEL CISLER North Kent Bible Church As we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, it causes me to pause and give thanks for the freedom that is available to us. I am thankful for the many who have served and sacrificed in the past to allow that freedom. I am thankful for those who serve and sacrifice today to continue that freedom and to attempt to provide it for others. I am thankful to those who have led within our governmental offices in all levels to first lay the groundwork of this freedom and then to uphold it. I am thankful that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. I am thankful also for the freedom available to us in Jesus Christ, the son of God. Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” In Jesus we have freedom from the result of sin, which is death, through the promise of the resurrection. We also have freedom from the bondage of sin, the yoke of slavery mentioned in Galatians 5:1. Sin in our lives can become a bondage that we feel we can’t get away from. We can struggle and struggle against it but feel like we are not breaking free from it. The reason for this is that by ourselves we can’t save ourselves from sin, we need to turn to Jesus to break free from that which holds us. In Hebrews 12:1-2 we find these words, “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” We see here the truth that sin easily entangles us and the importance of turning our focus to Jesus. I hope you have both thankfulness for the freedom we have in this country and freedom that is available in Jesus.
Pastor Michael Cisler
Spring Storms by PASTOR MICHAEL CISLER North Kent Bible Church Our late winter and early spring have been very interesting this year. We had very little snowfall in February and record-breaking highs for March temperatures. Yet, April has brought its usual strong storms. Last week I picked up sticks for about 30 minutes following the strong winds that came through. Some have been awakened in the night from the thunder and lightening. Even as I write this, it is dark and rainy outside. These dark days and violent storms that come through are a lot like life itself. We can have large periods of time, months, years, even decades when most everything is going very well. However, all of that can change so quickly. Health issues can arise in our lives, the lives of our parents, or worse yet, the lives of our children. A steady job with a steady income can be lost overnight, or over the course of a three-minute visit to somebody’s office. Life itself can be lost in an instant. These storms of life and others like them are real and they affect people in our community often. This is the part where I include a Bible verse that ties it all up so it’s rainbows at the end. Well, the truth is, sometimes these storms last a long time and life is really hard. Please don’t get me wrong, I believe that the Bible is God’s Word and that it speaks to our lives in real ways. I believe, and have experienced, that a single verse, or even a few words from a verse, can give us hope, encouragement, strength, and can help us face these storms of life for another day (e.g. Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me). I also believe that as Christians, there is almost always more that we can do. Offering a Scripture verse can be a great blessing to individuals as they traverse the storms of life. How much more of a blessing to offer the Scripture AND spend time with them, listening to them, sitting with them, being […]
What Gift to Give? by PASTOR MICHAEL CISLER North Kent Bible Church Here we are again, sneaking up on Christmas. Maybe you have already started your Christmas shopping or maybe you won’t do so for another three weeks. Either way, take a moment to consider what gifts you give to others and what gifts they give you. In Isaiah 58, God speaks through the prophet Isaiah concerning what He desires in fasting. Fasting had turned into a practice that was more about other people seeing our fake righteousness, than the desire that God had for it from the beginning. In this chapter, God talks about wanting people that are involved in loosening the chains of injustice, setting the oppressed free, feeding the hungry, providing shelter for the homeless, and meeting the needs of those in need. In Isaiah 58:10 it says, “…and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” Now what does this have to do with Christmas gifts? Are there people in your life for whom it is difficult to find just the right gift? Are there people in your life who just love whatever you give them? Have you ever considered replacing some of those gifts with gifts that could help others in need? What if, rather than buying a $30 sweater for a sibling, you donated that $30 in their name instead. It is amazing what $30 can do to bless those in need. North Kent Community Services can turn $30 into an astonishing amount of food to give to our neighbors who may need some assistance. In fact, through some organizations a donation of $20 can buy enough food to feed 100 orphans in Malawi, Africa for an entire week. I think now is a good time to begin talking to others with whom we exchange gifts for Christmas. Consider encouraging them to give to others in need in your name. Consider giving to them a donation to others in need in their name. “…and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise […]
In the Beginning by PASTOR MICHAEL CISLER North Kent Bible Church “When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Hopefully these words are familiar to you. They are the first two sentences of the Declaration of Independence. These words begin the document that marked the establishment of our great nation. What great boldness and truth we find here. Notice in both sentences God is clearly spoken of as “nature’s God” and “Creator.” God is portrayed as the one who entitles one people to assume their separate and equal station among the powers of the earth. He is also the one who has endowed all men with certain unalienable rights. Our nation’s founders saw God as the one who has given us the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is in line with what the Bible says as well. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Also, the first part of Acts 17:28 says, “For in him we live and move and have our being.” God is our Creator and we have our existence and unalienable rights because of Him. We are blessed to live in a nation in which our founding fathers recognized God as Creator and giver of our rights. We are blessed to be able to follow their example in this and live by that same set of beliefs that they did.
God is with us in life’s changes by PASTOR MICHAEL CISLER North Kent Bible Church In the next few weeks, the lives of many young adults will change forever. They will walk across a stage and be handed a piece of paper which says they have graduated from high school. They now enter a new stage of life. Many have already decided what they will be doing next fall, while others are still making decisions about their future. In both cases there is often excitement of the possibilities and fear of the unknown. As adults, we face these same emotions when we have children, when our children graduate and move out, when we change jobs, when we move, and whenever our lives change dramatically. The Word of God, in Joshua 1:9, teaches, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” These words were spoken by God to Joshua as his life changed in obedience to God. They are true for us today. As we obey God, no matter how much our lives change, He will be with us and we need not fear. In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God says this not at a time of excitement but when the Jews were in captivity by another nation. For 70 years they would be captives and God is encouraging them that He has plans for them. We can be encouraged that as we face times of difficulty we have a God that has plans for us as well—plans to prosper, gives us hope, and a future! Whether in times of exciting change or times of difficulty, God is with us to give us strength and courage, to give us hope and a future. Our responsibility is found in Jeremiah 29:12-13. Right after God tells of His plans, hope and future, He says, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your […]