Thank you for being here today. What a blessing the Lord gives us each week to be together and worship. I truly pray your time will be filled with praise and enrichment. The condition of our spiritual life has never been more important than it is right now.

I want to thank everyone for the kind words and expressions of appreciation that was shown to me and my family last week. Melissa and the girls send their thanks as well. There is nothing more special than to be recognized and appreciated for the work we do. The words “thank you” truly do go a long way.
It seems that many in the world today are on a journey to find something. We all have lost or misplaced an item and have spent time looking for it, but this is not what I am referring to. The pursuit of something harmful, the search for some dirt or negative information and all of it, for the purpose of bringing damage to another person. Whether it simply be reputation or career or even the pursuit of something criminal, it just appears that this is the newest craze or fad in our nation. While indeed, many have done things that are terrible and even things that need to be accounted for. However, this does not seem to be the honest pursuit, but rather the desire to harm.

The Bible is the greatest platform for life. The Bible gives us our greatest instructions, greatest directions and indeed, our greatest truth. We learn from examples, or at least we should. If we actually read the Word, we see some incredible examples of how to do things and indeed, how not to do things. God’s desire is that we live a holy life. It is the mark of a changed heart. It has never been more apparent to me, in my lifetime, of the depraved nature of people. There is somewhat of a bloodlust in the eyes of many who walk around us. What do I mean by that? The desire, the literal desire, to see another person harmed in some sort of way.

When I was growing up we went to church. I would even state that we went: faithfully. Simply meaning that, the normal and regular thing to do was go to church on Sunday morning. The basic principles of right and wrong were taught and the premise of believing in God was certainly present. However, I can honestly say that life and the way we live it and why that matters, was never a strong element in what was presented. I say that not in a critical way, but rather to make a point. As we understand the Bible and its purpose, it is not “just a Book,” it is not just a manual for what we can and can’t do. Indeed, it is a guide for life and why the way we live it is important.

It is said that the word Holy is in the Bible at least 585 times, maybe more. There is a reason and that reason is: God is serious about how He is represented. In Other words, it does matter what we do and how we do it. Simply coming to church, being a member, having a Bible, is not enough. Again, my intent is not to demean those things, but instead, to enhance them. To be on the roster of the team, be it baseball, football, whatever the case, is to be listed on the roll. It is another world entirely to be a player, to actually be called upon to perform, to contribute.

We, as believers, we desire to be known as such. We sing and speak about being part of the family of God. However, in name only, is just that. How do we respond if we are called upon to participate or to contribute? Yes, we can write a check and pass it on to someone else, but what if we are Jonah and God says, “Arise and go” what then? How do we respond to that? In this series on the life and example of Jonah, we have seen resistance, we have seen obedience, we have seen prayer, we will look at revival (results) today, but what we see is an example of life and why what we do and what we represent is so important. People need the Lord. I am more convinced of this than ever. Far too many give forth a statement of belief, but there is no fruit. Last weekend, during my parents visit, they wanted apples from an orchard. We took them to Skyline orchards in NC. The signs all said “orchard” or “apples ahead.” We took the drive up the mountain, we pulled in the parking lot and indeed, purchased the apples. However, what if all the sings were the same, but rather when we entered the shed or walked out into the orchard there were pears or oranges or maybe even nothing, how would that have changed the trip? It would have been deception, it would have been “fake news” because it was not what was advertised.

We have all seen products on TV that look like one thing and maybe took the chance to order it, only to be greatly disappointed upon receipt. The child of God, the representative of God, the one who claims, “I am His” we have a great responsibility, we have a great duty and that is to never falsely advertise anything. We are challenged and indeed called to be the real thing. We are called to love one another, pray for one another and that even includes our enemies. While we struggle with that principle, it is not a suggestion from God, but indeed, it is a command.

While the world works hard to tear each other apart, we must ask the question, where can one find refuge, where can one find love, real love, where can one find peace in all of this turmoil? The answer is and always will be Christ. The question we have to answer is: are we prepared to introduce Him to all and I mean all who come our way?

I struggle with things, just like anyone else. I will say though, that seeing people truly working to hurt each other bothers me in a deep way that I truly cannot explain. We are to be in pursuit of higher living, better living, but we should never climb that mountain by stepping on someone else. The world needs an example, the church, the true believer, is the only one left that can make a difference. May we pursue God in prayer and seek His face and hear His answer as to all that He is asking for us to do and then let’s get busy.

It is an honor to bring you the Message each and every week. I am blessed to do what I do. Please call on me anytime.

Pastor Andy