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The Boundaries of God

Saturday, May 11, 2019

In just about every sporting arena there are rules that govern the games. No matter the sport, in order to maintain discipline and keep order, rules must established and adhered to. In most sporting events there are physical areas designated as out of bounds. This typically means, the boundaries have been set and you can’t go beyond those established areas. If or when one does, it results in penalties and those penalties can sometimes be very costly. We saw this happen recently at one of the world’s largest sporting events. 

God has set boundaries for his followers when it comes to his word. In 1 Corinthians 4:6, it reads, “I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.” “Do not go beyond what is written.” This means we cannot add to or change that which is already clearly stated in the word of God. To do so means we have violated the boundary line, and this assuredly will result in penalties that could cost us our soul.

John wrote in 2 John 9, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” What we believe or practice religiously must line up with the word of God. If it doesn’t, we don’t have God and risk losing it all. Let us not gamble on losing our soul by stepping out of bounds and doing what feels good to us religiously. God has set the rules; he will call the fouls and issue the penalties for going outside the boundaries of his word. May we who love the Lord keep his word completely.

- Kristopher Sanders, minister

Buildings Burn, But The Church Lives On

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

It's old news now (it's been about 20 days), but the burning of the Cathedral of Notre Dame has continued to loom large in the minds of many people. There are several things that could be noted about it from the background of a Christian worldview. We could ask and respond to the question, "Why would Europe's extremely secular culture care so much about the accidental destruction of a religious structure?" Or we could consider the varying levels of response to the event by people in government, in media, and social media... and how those were or were not justified.

But more than anything else, I have thought over and over again about Jesus' promise to Peter: "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18)

I love that promise. Jesus' words remind us that our finest physical and organizational structures may fail, and we may weep when they do. But the church of Jesus Christ transcends time, space, location, and structures. Because the church is people. It is people connected through our eternal king, Jesus Christ, who reigns from Heaven, world without end (cf. Eph. 3:21, KJV). So while our finest work may crumble, burn, or fade into obscurity, the gates of hell will not overcome or destroy the people who are the church that Jesus built. And we can live every day with confidence because of that promise.

"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Matt. 10:28-31)

- Dan Lankford, minister

The Creator’s Work; The Creature’s Might

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?

Dress for action like a man;

I will question you, and you make it known to me.”


“Do you give the horse his might?

Do you clothe his neck with a mane?

Do you make him leap like the locust?

His majestic snorting is terrifying.

He paws in the valley and exults in his strength;

he goes out to meet the weapons.

He laughs at fear and is not dismayed;

he does not turn back from the sword.

Upon him rattle the quiver,

the flashing spear, and the javelin.

With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground;

he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.

When the trumpet sounds, he says ‘Aha!’

He smells the battle from afar,

the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.”

- Job 38:1-3, 39:19-25

Everybody else is...

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The title “Everybody else is” is a statement too often heard from an immature child while trying to convince their parents to allow him or her to do what everybody else is doing, sounds familiar? Well sadly this attitude or line of thinking has led to the insurmountable number of religious denominations in the world as well as the reasoning some immature Christians use to justify crossing the boundaries God has set forth in his word. 

We rationalize, “Everyone else is” going to that once in a life time party where we know sin may lurk.”  “Everyone else is” wearing revealing or immodest clothing, justification, it’s the latest fashion.   “Everyone else is” lying just a little bit on their taxes, justification, Uncle Sam won’t miss it.  God told His people long ago, “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil” (Exodus 23:2). When everyone else was bowing down to the golden image king Nebuchadnezzar built and erected, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to do so. The result was they were cast into the fiery furnace, but the Lord was with them (Daniel 3). 

 We must very careful not to allow ourselves to be conformed to what everyone else in this wicked world is doing (Romans 12:1-2).  God doesn’t want us to be different just for the sake of being different.  We are to be different because we belong to a holy God whose ways are different than that of this world. My mom used to ask, “What if everyone else jumped off a bridge?” The fact of the matter is the path to destruction is paved with what “everybody else is”, doing. Only the righteous will find eternal life in heaven and everyone else is destined to eternal punishment (John 5:29).

- Kristopher Sanders, minister

Communion Meditation: Taking Communion in the Tabernacle

Saturday, April 27, 2019

In Leviticus 24:5-9, we read the Law’s regulations about the bread that was to be placed before the Lord in the Tabernacle. From that passage, we learn these truths:

  • The bread of that table was made holy by its being in the presence of God.
  • It was prepared by human hands, but it was blessed by the God 
of Heaven.
  • The bread of that table was only for the priests to eat.
  • It was prepared every week (on the Sabbath day).
  • As long as that covenant (the old one) existed, God intended it to be part of the procedure of the covenant.
  • The bread of that table was eaten in the Holy Place—those who ate it knew that God was with them there.

When we partake of the Lord’s supper, so many of the same realities are at work, although in a higher form. We eat a holy meal, sanctified by Jesus in the upper room. It is a meal that is prepared by human hands, but blessed by the God of Heaven. We are the priests of the new covenant, and we eat every week. And as long as the covenant stands, we eat to proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes again.

And perhaps most importantly and most encouragingly, when we eat the Lord’s supper, he is with us. What a privilege to be invited to eat with God at his holy table!

- Dan Lankford, minister

Bedrock Principles

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

In light of last night's big game, let's start with a little basketball reference. Coach John Wooden (UCLA, 1948-1975) said of himself, "I don’t think I was a fine game coach. I’m trying to be honest. I think I was a good practice coach." What's the difference? The difference is in the fundamentals. Can you execute the fundamental moves of the game with individual precision, individual determination, and team unison every single time in practice? Then the games will take care of themselves.

That's one of the reasons that our gospel meeting series for next week focuses on the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. For Christians whose faith is not as mature, it helps to establish a strong foundation on which to build a better walk of faith. But even for mature Christians, it works like practice: an effort to help each of us understand Christianity with doctrinal precision, hold our individual sense of determination, and move in unison with our brothers and sisters.

The Holy Spirit told one group of Christians that it was important for them to move beyond the basics and into greater maturity (Heb. 5:11-6:9), but we never truly leave those bedrock ideas behind. Remember that Paul said the most important thing he taught to the Corinthians was about the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4), which is among the basics talked about in Hebrews 6:3. The foundations stay with us, and only when we are strong on those foundations will we be able to grow beyond them.

We have people of all maturity levels in our church, and so we're praying that next week's series will be a blessing to all of us. See you there!

- Dan Lankford, minister

Family Life Is Hard Work... And Worth It!

Sunday, April 07, 2019

A word to Christian parents who are trying to raise godly kids:

If you’re tired, you’re probably doing it right.

Parenting is a tough job. There’s a lot to do, and it’s important to do it well when you can. We shouldn’t be surprised if it tires us out sometimes. But in spite of that, there are some things that need to remain high priorities for our families. They will continue to make us tired, but they are worth it. Here are three quick reminders:

First, keep your spiritual life strong (Matt. 6:33). Don’t let the urgent demands of daily life take precedence over your walk with Christ. If you succeed in raising educated, healthy, industrious children, but your walk with Christ is sacrificed, it just won’t be worth it.

Second, prioritize your marriage. Give attention to your spouse. Go on dates. Work thru conflicts rather than avoiding them. Read the Bible and pray together. Enjoy God's gift of sex. Stay committed to each other. Your kids will grow and leave the house, but as Christians, we are committed to our marriages until death parts us. So make marriage a priority, and enjoy the blessings of godliness that can come by doing so.

Third, teach your children. Don’t just protect them, teach them (Eph. 6:4). Don’t just survive every day, teach them every day. Don’t just try to make them happy, work to make them better.

Family life is hard work. If you’re tired, you’re probably doing it right. Keep going, and God will be with you.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Pray for Pure Hearts

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life."
(Prov. 4:23)

"What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.
(Mark 7:20-23)

In the Bible, we are whole people—soul and body. And from ancient times, the Lord has talked about our hearts as the center of both of those. The heart is the hub: what you do with your body, what you say with your mouth, what you think in your mind, and what you desire in your soul... all of them center in the heart. It is the place where decisions are made and where our deepest desires abide.

It's no wonder, then, that the Spirit talks about how important it is for us to have pure hearts. The passages referenced above could be supplemented by a myriad of others that emphasize pure thoughts, righteous desires, and clean consciences.

Work toward that today. Pray for a pure heart (cf. Psa. 51:7-12). Control your thoughts. Don't just strive for purity in actions & words; see if there is some wickedness hiding in the corners of your heart where only you and God know about it, and let him cleanse it (cf. Psa. 139:23-24). Let your heart be pure in every way, and let that bring the freedom and joy that God intends to give you.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
(Matt. 5:8)


- Dan Lankford, minister

God Knows. God Cares.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

“Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? Matthew 6:25-34.

Can any of us change what will happen on tomorrow; that is if tomorrow comes? The answer is we cannot. I heard it said, “Don’t borrow sorrow from tomorrow because today has its own. This life no doubt has its troubles and sadly we all at some point directly or indirectly will experience them.  The good news is as believers we are not alone.  Jesus wants us to cast our cares on Him, 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you”. 

When we allow Jesus to help us as trials and anxieties come our way, we are acknowledging our dependence on Him and our inability to handle it on our own. He asks for our issues because He loves and cares for His children. This should be comforting and reassuring for every faithful child of God.  Nothing is a surprise to God for He is intimately acquainted with each of us and knows just what we need. We however must decide if we will trust Him at his word.  This world will throw many troubles our way so trust in a Savior who will never leave us alone.

- Kristopher Sanders, minister

Why Manage Your Money?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Many have noted that if you follow the money, you’ll find out what’s most important to a person or an organization. That’s definitely an over-simplification, but it still has something valuable for us to think about. Namely, what value does your money have to you? How do you use it? How do you manage it? Or do you let it manage you?

The Lord intends for us to be grateful for what he gives us. The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that it is proper for us to enjoy God’s good gifts. And when the apostle Paul gave instructions for rich Christians, he told them not to set their hope on their riches, “but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” (1 Tim. 3:17) The Lord intends for us to gratefully enjoy riches when he gives them.

But we must never depend more on our blessings than on the one who gives them. This is why, as Christians, we are to be wise with our money. As in all other aspects of life, we are to be self-controlled; always making deliberate choices, willingly denying some things for ourselves so we can instead serve God and others.

Our financial goals are to be able to provide for our own families (1 Tim. 5:8), to be able to give to others (Eph. 4:28), and to aid in sharing the gospel with the world (Phil. 4:10-19). Money is never an end in itself, but God intends it to be a tool in the hands of his people who would use it for his glory and for others’ good. That takes diligent attention, self-control, and a long view of living life God’s way. But in the end, it brings peace & contentment, and it gives glory to God.

- Dan Lankford, minister

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