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A new year begins with a new life! - 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

A new year begins with a new life! - 2 Corinthians 5:14-21
By Pastor Lee Hemen
December 29, 2013 AM

Have you ever been around folks who know what they are doing is wrong yet they try to justify themselves with lame spiritual answers? You know what I mean, with answers like, “I think it is God’s will.” “I think this is best.” “I think God is leading.” Notice the common denominator? Like I said, lame. King Saul was confronted by Samuel after he did what he, thought was best and yet he knew better. (1 Samuel 15:12-16) God had given him a tremendous victory, but Saul thought he knew better than God did, even after God had specifically told him what he was to do; and what he was not to do. God in giving His people His will for their lives is never ever blurry in the details. He does not make His people guess. Nor does He allow spiritually fuzzy logic. Saul’s pathetic answer is basically the same lame answer folks give today when they know what they are doing is ungodly but they want to jus…

Fourth Sunday of Advent – The love of God fulfilled! – Luke 2:1-20

Fourth Sunday of Advent – The love of God fulfilled! – Luke 2:1-20
By Pastor Lee Hemen
December 22, 2013 AM

There are certain dates in life that stand out more than others do. I remember my parents and grandparents talking about when the bombing of Pearl Harbor occurred and where they were and what they were doing. I remember the day the first American went into space and when we landed on the moon. I also remember when terrorists flew passenger jets into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. However, on a brighter note, I also vividly remember the day I was married and the day we brought our daughter home. Is it any wonder then that as believers we should celebrate by remembering the day the love of God was fulfilled?

On this the fourth Sunday of Advent we should pause as Christians and remember together the day Jesus was born. Before we pass out the presents, drink the hot apple cider, or eat the first candy canes of Christmas perhaps we would do well to stop and r…

Third Sunday of Advent – The Joy of our worship! - Matthew 2:1-12

Third Sunday of Advent – The Joy of our worship! - Matthew 2:1-12
By Pastor Lee Hemen
December 15, 2013 AM

Though not everyone agrees on the timing of the arrival of the Magi from the East, they apparently came some time after the birth of Jesus. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, though still in Bethlehem, were now in a house (oikia, Matthew 2:11) but it can also mean place or residence, and could have been used generically by Matthew to describe where Mary and Joseph were simply staying for the moment. However, we also discover that Jesus was called a little child (paidion, Matthew 2:9, 11) rather than a newborn infant (brephos, Luke 2:12). Whether this is true or not is not the focus of the verses, but rather what was the focus of the Magi's worship. In fact, we discover what the joy of our worship is to be as we study the story of the Magi.

When my wife and I first began to date, I would drive hundreds of miles, often times during very bad weather just to see her. I wrote her letters where…

Second Sunday of Advent - The peace of God! - Isaiah 52:6-10

Second Sunday of Advent - The peace of God! - Isaiah 52:6-10
By Pastor Lee Hemen
December 8, 2013 AM

Last week we spoke of how the Messiah would be called by the names of, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, (and) Prince of Peace.” There were those who incorrectly thought that the Messiah would bring about a cessation of conflicts or that everyone would all of a sudden become happy in His presence. Interestingly, there are those in our day and age who still have misconceptions of who the Messiah is and the peace He is to bring to the world. On this second Sunday of Advent, we will learn that the coming of the Messiah would bring peace. And, what that would mean for the entire human race.

Isaiah introduces us to a Messiah who would bring about His peace to all mankind. He begins this portion by calling the nation of Israel to wake up, “Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised (ungo…

First Sunday of Advent – Our expectation and hope! - Isaiah 9:2-7

First Sunday of Advent – Our expectation and hope! - Isaiah 9:2-7
By Pastor Lee Hemen
December 1, 2013 AM

One of the great things to do with children is to keep an advent calendar and countdown the days until Christmas. Christmas is the celebration of the first Advent, the coming of the Savior of the world! As believers, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. But we also wait eagerly for the second advent when Christ will return! "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NIV)

Certainly, a large part of our lives center around anticipation. How much we would lose if we were to wake up one day to the unexpected announcement: "Christmas in 10 minutes!" T…

Worship is, “loving” God! – Psalm 18:1-3; Psalm 8:1, 3-4; Psalm 144:3-4

Worship is, “loving” God! – Psalm 18:1-3; Psalm 8:1, 3-4; Psalm 144:3-4
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 24, 2013 AM

How often do you tell the person you care about most in life that you love them? There’s an old joke where on their 50th wedding anniversary a farmer’s wife said she was leaving him. He asked her,
“Why?” She replied, “Because you don’t love me.” He responded, “Why in the world would you say that?” She said, “Because you never say that you love me!” He immediately replied, “I told you that I love you on our wedding day; if I ever change my mind, I’ll let you know!” Sadly, for some this is exactly how they treat their relationship with God! Our worship is, “loving” God!

Perhaps some of us have forgotten what our worship is to be. The Bible reminds us over and over that His people are to “love” Him. Jesus related that the greatest thing we can do as God’s children is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” In fact, worship is, …

Worship: Going through the motions! – Genesis 4:3-7; Leviticus 10:1-2; Matthew 15:7-9

Worship: Going through the motions! – Genesis 4:3-7; Leviticus 10:1-2; Matthew 15:7-9
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 17, 2013 AM

Last week, we talked about worship being God’s idea. I heard a story concerning a pastor and his first Sunday in a new church presenting the children’s message. It seems the sanctuary in the new church had some magnificent stained glass windows, so his message centered on how each of us is called to help make up the whole picture of life (the life of the community of the faithful). Like the pictures in the windows, it takes many little panels of glass to make the whole picture. And then he said, “You see each one of you is a little pane.” And then pointing to each child, “You’re a little pane. And you’re a little pane. And you’re a little pane. And...” It took a few moments before he realized why everyone was laughing so hard. Sometimes, we don’t realize that we are just going through the motions.

Our worship can be like that as well. We can simply show up and go …

Worship is God’s idea! – 2 Kings 17:35-36; Numbers 28:1-2; Matthew 4:8-10

Worship is God’s idea! – 2 Kings 17:35-36; Numbers 28:1-2; Matthew 4:8-10
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 10, 2013 AM

As a youngster, church for me was boring; it was full of weird sounding words, repetition, a lot of kneeling, standing, genuflecting, and symbolism that was beyond my comprehension. Later I learned that each part was symbolic and allegedly necessary if I desired to “know God” and come near Him. Of course, this simply was not true. Church was not meant to be a myriad of regulations and endless repetitions. Also, I used to think that church was worship, but I learned this was not completely true either. While we go to church to worship, worship is more than church. Worship is God’s idea!

The king of Assyria had given an order: “Have one of the priests you took captive from Samaria go back to live there and teach the people what the god of the land requires.” He did not know the Lord, but he wanted his captured subjects to be placated. In doing so, the Samaritans maintained thei…

How to live confidently! - James 5:1, 4-11, 13-20

How to live confidently! - James 5:1, 4-11, 13-20
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 3, 2013 AM

In my early 30’s, I questioned what my future held. I was newly married, working at a good job, but I could not see the finish line. I wanted desperately to be “out there in the real world,” working in pastoral ministry. I observed people my age who were established in ministry. Soon, a ministry opportunity arose that was the beginning of a future I could not have imagined—one better than I could have drawn up. I wish I could say I never again lost confidence about the future, but I can’t. Yet in my journey, I have learned valuable lessons. God works on His timetable and I can trust Him.

Disappointments make adults less confident about their lives. Some lose confidence and concentrate on the worst that could happen. They always wonder when the next shoe will drop! Other adults worry about the future. Limited incomes, aging, health-care, terrorism threats, the economy, and other concerns erode their c…