30 Day Renewal Challenge

30 Day Renewal Challenge

Belmont Family,

In the month of May, we are asking God to renew our minds. That is a prayer that he wants to answer!  Here are the three daily steps to the challenge:  

5 Minutes–  Wake up and ask the Holy Spirit to Renew Your Mind. Do this before thinking about or doing anything else. This first week is for evaluation so pray Psalm 139:23-24 “Search Me O God”  Listen quietly to hear ways that your mind has been conformed to the world. 

2 Sentences- Keep a notepad nearby. Think about your thinking.  Write down two sentences that summarize what you became aware of during your prayer time. Add to your list everyday so you get a fuller picture of where you are with your thought life.  

1 Verse- Our memory verse for this week is Romans 8:5 Repeat this to yourself throughout the day and commit it to memory.  “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

I hope you will commit to doing this with the church.  I think you will be surprised what God can do when you surrender to him and ask him to change you.  I’d love to pray for you this month so send me a quick email letting me know if you are taking the challenge.  

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind,

Pastor Jon

 

The Shepherd’s Staff The One Who Overcomes Shall Not Be Hurt By the Second Death

Persecution will not cease but will increase as we near the end times and the Great Tribulation.

The Shepherd’s Staff: Granted

The word “granted” may be obvious in meaning but, it is packed with incomprehensible meaning in Paul’s usage.

The Shepherd’s Staff: Devoted

Is the future of the church defined by a building or its people? What can we glean from the New Testament about this?

The Shepherd’s Staff: My Rock

With all that is going on in the early days of 2021, we need to have our perspective directed in the right place.

My Heart At The Holidays

My Heart At The Holidays

There’ll be parties for hosting.  Marshmallows for toasting.  And caroling out in the snow.
There’ll be scary ghost stories.  And tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago.
 

And you probably know the next few lines by heart…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  There’ll be much mistltoeing
And hearts will be glowing.  When loved ones are near.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year. 

It’s a fun song for sure!  But it won’t ring true with every person this year, will it?  Not every heart will be glowing this holiday season.  Some hearts will be sad, heavy, lonely, fearful, angry.  For some, it won’t feel like the most wonderful time of the year. They might feel their pain even more acutely against the backdrop of the holidays. 

In Psalm 56, David writes about a time where his back against the wall.  He feels betrayed, trampled, attacked, afraid.  He has been done wrong.  It feels unfair.  He feels alone and brokenhearted.  And then as he writes he reminds himself that God knows the ups and downs of his heart.

Psalm 56:8 says, ‘You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in your bottle.  Are they not in your book?’

It is so important for us to remember at this time of year that God knows our hearts.  He knows how we toss and turn at night.  He knows what keeps us from sleeping.  When you shed a tear, He is right there with you to hold your hand.  He not only sees your tears but he knows the pain behind each one.  He loves you so much that he is even keeping a record of the emotions of your life.  He is keeping a journal on how each of his children are doing. 

How does this help when we are hurting?  It helps to know that we are not alone.  Our emotions will tell us that nobody else cares or understands.  As followers of Jesus, we know that is simply not true.  We remind ourselves that we have a high priest named Jesus who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses for he himself has gone through the troubles of the world.  We can draw near to the throne of grace with confidence knowing that we will receive mercy and grace in our time of need.  As believers, we know that God’s grace is not only for the life to come after this one, but it is also for walking through the fallen world that we currently live in.  We have hope, not only of eternal life, but that God will walk with us through the hurt and pain in the valley of the shadow of death. 

How is your heart this holiday season?  Is it glowing?  If not, be of good cheer.  You have a God who knows you and is for you.  He loves you so much that he has already gotten you the best present ever.  His presence!  Made available freely through this Son, Jesus! 

You are important to me, but more importantly to Him,  Draw close this week.  

Pastor Jon

The One Who Overcomes Will Rule with Authority

According to the trending world view of progressive America, we should not state that this kind of lifestyle is contrary to Biblical truth. We are ‘intolerant’ if we do.

The Shepherd’s Staff The One Who Overcomes Shall Not Be Hurt By the Second Death

Persecution will not cease but will increase as we near the end times and the Great Tribulation.

The Shepherd’s Staff: Granted

The word “granted” may be obvious in meaning but, it is packed with incomprehensible meaning in Paul’s usage.

The Shepherd’s Staff: Devoted

Is the future of the church defined by a building or its people? What can we glean from the New Testament about this?

The Shepherd’s Staff: My Rock

With all that is going on in the early days of 2021, we need to have our perspective directed in the right place.

The Shepherd’s Staff: Each Day is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

With a new year rapidly approaching us, I wanted to bring you some encouragement as you anticipate the unknown 365 days ahead

The Shepherd’s Staff: Light In The Darkness

A little child was born to insignificant parents, in an insignificant village in Israel and in an insignificant moment in the history of the Roman empire. BUT, that baby was the fulfilment of the prophecy made by Isaiah about 700 years prior to His birth

The Shepherd’s Staff: He Emptied Himself For You and For Me

In the midst of singing carols, decorating trees, exchanging gifts, feasting on pastries and roasted meats, and gathering together with other believers-in person or online-to worship the One Who was born 2 centuries ago, there is a deeper, and more profound aspect of...

The Shepherd’s Staff: The Blessed Hope

If you have ever received correspondence from me, I typically sign it with the term, “Maranatha!”. The term is found in 1 Corinthians 16:22

The Shepherd’s Staff: Love Letters

Why am I writing this to you? Because I want you to experience the presence of the living God, Who is like
no other god created by man.

Put It In God’s Hands

Put It In God’s Hands

Belmont Family-

The eyes of the nation are on the election today.  It will be talked about, argued about, wondered about, and worried about.  Many are looking past the election and speculating on how the next few weeks will go as the votes are counted and debated over.  How should we as citizens of God’s Kingdom carry ourselves during this time? Here’s a biggie:  Let’s Don’t Sacrifice Our Principles

When the king of Babylon invaded Judah he took captives and brought them back to his palace.  He wanted them to be integrated into his kingdom so he changed their diet and their education.  Daniel was one of these Jewish captives.  It would have been easy for him to abandon the food laws observed by God’s people but what did he do?  Daniel 1:8 says that, “Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank.”  Instead, he asked for only vegetables to eat and water to drink.  At the time of inspection, Daniel’s appearance and mental sharpness were above all the others.  He trusted God and stuck to his principles.  He was obedient to God.  Even though he was physically living in the kingdom of Babylon he still prioritized the principles of God’s Kingdom. 

As you participate in this political cycle it could feel easy or even right to take on the same attitude and actions of the worldly kingdom.  That would be the wrong thing to do.  Here are a few examples:

Colossians 4:5-6 says, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”  It could be easy for some who claim the name of Christ to lose their temper and let their conversation become bitter and hateful during this time.  Instead of doing that, resolve to let your conversation be full of grace so that you can answer folks in a way that honors Jesus.

Matthew 5:38-39 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’  But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” You may face some kind of verbal attack during this time; either in person or on-line.  A natural reaction might be to retaliate and punch back harder.  But we are not out to get revenge.  We are not called to punish those who wrong us.  God will see to it that justice is served. 

Watch The Sermon Series "United We Stand"

According to polls, the country is divided down the middle when it comes to politics and many other important issues. How do we, as Christians, respond?

When we live the way that we are called to and we don’t allow ourselves to get sucked into the craziness of the culture it does not mean that we don’t care about the big things at stake.  What it shows is that we trust God with the outcome.  We put it in His hands.  We know that His Kingdom is unshakeable.  Will you resolve to be a person who has gracious speech and turns the other cheek this week?  I hope you will,

Pastor Jon

Society Needs Truth

Society Needs Truth

We are so blessed to know and worship the Creator God who has established the universe by the power of his Word. What he formed was right and good and true and was to his glory. Eventually though, we chose to believe a lie instead of the truth.  When mankind rebelled against the Creator, and twisted and misused the creation, the deadly virus of sin entered the system and an ongoing cycle of chaos ensued. 

Fortunately, we can still know, worship, and obey our Creator because he has revealed his truth to us in the Scriptures. In the Bible we see God’s design for how people and societies can thrive, albeit imperfectly, in spite of the curse. When we live according to God’s plan, our individual lives and our society will function better than when we ignore his blueprint for living. 

Thinking people have to recognize that we reside in a country that is becoming increasingly more secular. That means that much of our nation is moving away from belief in God and denying his design and authority.  As a result, we are becoming progressively immoral.  The world and its leaders deny the Creator God and set themselves up as little gods instead.  Because of this worldview, secular society says that the building blocks of civilization are just man-made constructs. Therefore, these revolutionaries are working to dismantle what God has established; even on things as basic as gender, sexuality, marriage, and family.  Any country that tries to undo these foundational elements will see their society begin to crumble. 

The primary way that we as citizens of God’s Kingdom can reveal the beauty of the Creator’s design to the world is by lovingly proclaiming the truth about God and about his Son.  We must also be a people who are living out and demonstrating the beauty of His truth. Instead of being silent, we speak into the culture even when it is not popular.  In Matthew 14 and Luke 3, John the Baptist pointed out King Herod’s sin of divorcing his own wife in order to marry his brother’s wife.  This so infuriated his bride so much that she eventually connived to have John the Baptist put to death.  This was an inconvenient truth.  When we see our culture abandoning the pattern that God has ordained we must raise a warning of the harm that is to come.  We don’t do this from a place of arrogance but from a heart of grace. 

Generally speaking, when a government embraces God’s pattern for humanity and society, that culture will be blessed.  Christians should seek the good of the cities and countries that God has sovereignly placed them in.  We can do this in immediate ways by loving our neighbors and in far-reaching ways by guiding our society to function in ways that follow God’s design.  One way to do this is by installing government leaders that will observe the Creator’s pattern for living.  No politician or person will ever do that perfectly!  Of course, leaders and laws might change behaviors temporarily but they cannot change people’s hearts.  As a people grow more secular and godless they will eventually install leaders who represent their desires and affirm their lifestyles. 

Being The Church During COVID

At Belmont, we care about your safety and continuing to glorify God. Find out how we’re being the church while taking the proper precautions.

As time moves forward, those of us who choose to believe God and follow his ways will seem like relics to a progressive society. Even though trusting God’s structure for mankind and for society is a loving thing to do we will be viewed as ignorant and hateful.  But let us remember and rest in the fact that truth does not change. As a church, we will continue to subscribe to the truth of the Bible even when it is unpopular. 

I’d love to hear from you! What questions or concerns do you have about the church and government during this election season? What things are you hoping that we will cover in this current sermon series?  Send me your questions in the form below and maybe it will show up in my next sermon or letter. Praying for the continued unity of the church underneath the Lordship of King Jesus,

Pastor Jon

Send me your questions here.

13 + 5 =

King Of My Heart

King Of My Heart

Over the following 30 days, the nation will be focused on who will fill the highest office in the land.
According to polls, the country is divided down the middle on this topic and so many other important
issues. It is possible for this division to slip into the Church and for followers of Jesus self-segregate into
camps of blue and red and purple. But we know that the Lord’s desire is for His people to be united; to
be one. That was His prayer just before He went to the cross in the life-giving, sacrificial act that would
allow us to be baptized into one family of faith.

Jesus reminds us in Mark 3 that a Kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. It will fall apart.
Although the politics and elections of our nation are important, we must not allow these things to divide
us. Instead, we must stand united under a higher authority than a president or governor. We stand
united under the Lordship of King Jesus. Ultimately, He is the one who places and controls leaders of
nations.

How should we as Christians approach these times? The first place we must start is with an examination
of our hearts. Like King David in Psalm 139 we must say, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test
me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the
way everlasting.” What kind of hearts should we as believers have in turbulent times? Not
hearts that are anxious or angry but hearts of Trust, Unity, and Prayer.

1. A Heart of Trust
Psalm 146:3 says, “Do not put your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no
salvation.” Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding.” It is easy for us to unknowingly begin to shift our trust from God to a political
party or leader. Although it is good for us to be informed and to raise our voice for truth we
should do that while at the same time keeping our ultimate hope in the Lord. Psalm 146:5 says,
“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” One of the
best ways to keep your heart grounded in the right place is to be in God’s Word of Truth daily.
Make a commitment, for the next 30 days, to meditate on the good news in God’s Word
before tuning in to the not-so-good news of the world.

2. A Heart for Unity
In Ephesians 4, the Apostle Paul writes from prison and he tell the believers in Ephesus, “I therefore, a
prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been
called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to
maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Often we find it easy to distance ourselves from
other believers who have different views than we do. Worse, we might even find ourselves disparaging
them behind their backs or on social media. These actions do not show that we are ‘eager to maintain
unity’. Let’s put the unity of the body ahead of our own desires to vent or be heard. Instead of
throwing shade or blasting others on social media, let’s go old school and meet with people in person.
Make a commitment, for the next thirty days, to share your opinion ‘with all humility and gentleness
and patience.’

3. A Heart of Prayer
In I Timothy 2, the Apostle Paul urges that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and
thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may
lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in
the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of
the truth.” When we pray for our leaders, we are obeying God and showing that we trust Him to
guide those in authority. Depending on where you live, you may feel like your vote won’t make
that big of a practical difference. But when you pray, you are accomplishing more than you
could ever do on your own by asking God to be the difference-maker. Make a commitment,
for the next 30 days, to pray for those in authority and in ‘high positions; that the Lord
would direct their hearts to make wise and godly decisions.

My prayer for the Church as we approach the end of 2020 is that we will be more united than ever
before and that the peace of King Jesus will reign in our hearts!

The Shepherd’s Staff The One Who Overcomes Shall Not Be Hurt By the Second Death

Persecution will not cease but will increase as we near the end times and the Great Tribulation.

The Shepherd’s Staff: Granted

The word “granted” may be obvious in meaning but, it is packed with incomprehensible meaning in Paul’s usage.

The Shepherd’s Staff: Devoted

Is the future of the church defined by a building or its people? What can we glean from the New Testament about this?

The Shepherd’s Staff: My Rock

With all that is going on in the early days of 2021, we need to have our perspective directed in the right place.