Not Disappointed by JON HUIZENGA River Rock Church “…in you they trusted and were not disappointed,” Psalm 22:5. Hello, fellow Rockfordian. Here is something for you to think about: People who went before you trusted in God and they were not disappointed. Is there anyone else about whom you can say that? …government? …business? …family? …school? …spouse? …any individual? …any organization? I thank God for every person and organization in whom I have trusted and not been disappointed. My wife and I just traveled to Africa. We trusted airlines and taxi drivers and bottled water, and we were not disappointed. We do business with Rockford businesses, and we are not disappointed. But it is inevitable that someone you trust will let you down. That is why you learn to celebrate and recommend the trustworthy ones. I point you to the only one I know who has an unblemished record of trustworthiness. And don’t take just my word. Generations of people before you discovered the same. Place your trust in God and you will not be disappointed. About what do you need to trust God? Two related ideas: 1. On Labor Day weekend, thank God for all those workers you rely on who do trustworthy work. It is a godly way to be in a world that needs trustworthiness. 2. Your community churches exist to help you connect to this God who will not disappoint you. If you are not actively involved in one, ask around, select a few options, and visit them. Then pick one and get involved. A trustable God is waiting for you.
River Rock Church
A Living Part of Something Bigger Than Us by REV. JEFF WILLIAMS Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church “Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life,” 1 Peter 2:5a; The Message. The Grundtvig National Church in Denmark was started in 1921 and completed in 1941 by seven handpicked masons. The masons, in turn, rejected all bricks that were not perfect. There is an entire community surrounding the church built from the bricks, which the masons rejected (Henry N. Huxhold, Access to High Hope). While we can appreciate the value of using quality materials for our physical structures, I am more interested in the people living around the church because I believe that we are their neighbors; people whose lives are built with broken spirits, ideas that don’t fit or beliefs that are judged unacceptable. Thankfully, the good news is that in such a life we can get acquainted with and be welcomed by another neighbor, Jesus Christ, who the writer of 1 Peter describes, using Psalm 118:22-23, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” I am leaving White Pines and Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist churches to begin serving at Hartford United Methodist Church on July 1. Our life here since 2002 has been full, challenging, blessed, burdened and beautiful. We have built up and worn down each other on the journey. The energy and potential of White Pines partnering with the Wolverine World Wide Family YMCA is exhilarating, and the country, traditional Courtland-Oakfield faith family truly offers “hope on the hill” along Myers Lake Avenue. The heart of faith is accepting God’s grace and love with a willingness to be built in to something bigger than us, a sanctuary vibrant with life. Building and restoring churches and communities calls for great investment, commitment and resources. Thankfully God has already provided a sure foundation for us in Jesus Christ, “a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame,” 1 Peter 2:6. God bless you, and may you find joy in giving yourself to a purpose that inspires and outlives you.
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 email@example.com.
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
God meets you at the bottom by JON HUIZENGA River Rock Church Jesus begins his famous “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7) with the words, “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Next comes “Blessed are those who mourn”, then “blessed are the meek”, and then “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”. All four of these opening “blesseds” are for people who don’t have the resources to make it happen. They don’t have the ability or power to make life work. They need help. Jesus points out that God stands with them. We would never say these are blessed from our culture’s perspective. We would say, “blessed are the celebrities” (for they get to walk the red carpet), or “blessed are the wealthy” (for they eat regularly at fancy restaurants), or “blessed are the healthy” (for they have killer abs). Let’s be honest. If you don’t have the resources to make it happen, we don’t think you are blessed. So why does Jesus say they are blessed? Because, there is blessing in being at the end of yourself. In fact, from Jesus’ perspective, the person who is not blessed is the person who says,” Thanks, but no thanks, God. I’ve got it covered. I can handle it.” Are you feeling like you have come to the end of your ability or resources? Then God has you just where he wants you. You are ready to ask him for help. In fact, you might have a bunch of money and still be in that end-of-your-resources position. We are ready to cry out to God when we realize we can’t do it without him. God meets us at the bottom. As the Bible says, “But God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Want to talk about it? Feel free to email me – email@example.com God meets you at the bottom by JON HUIZENGA River Rock Church Jesus begins his famous “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7) with the words, “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Next comes “Blessed are those who mourn”, then “blessed are the meek”, and then […]