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Naming our kids was an experience. When JoLynn was pregnant with our second daughter Amanda, we got a piece of mail addressed to Jo L. Cooley. Joelle, I thought, what a terrific name! JoLynn liked Amanda better. And the winner is…
 
Joelle got second place. Middle name. So, I still use it sometimes.
 
Joelle, Amanda, they are good normal names. But, Mighty God—what kind of name is that?
 
 Isa 9:6 (NIV 2011)For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
 
Are Christians taking this too literal to think that this child, Jesus, was and is God? How could God be both the Father and the Son? Could this be a typo? An exaggeration? Something the Messiah was called, but not necessarily what he is or was? Are we missing something?
 
Some think that we have it wrong, that Scriptures do not teach, and Jesus never claimed to be God. But, the people living with him thought differently. At one point they try to kill Jesus saying,  John 10:33(NIV2011)“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” 
 
C.S. Lewis probably put it best in these famous words: “You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
 
So, if we understand the Bible correctly, and I think we do, we are then left with three choices. Jesus was a fool, a crazy man needing a straitjacket, or a demon trying to get us to worship a false god, or he was and is God.
 
And if he is God, what does that mean for us?
 
It means, “God’s answer to everything that has ever terrorized us, is a child.” (Ray Ortlund)
 
This week we will spend most of our Sunday in Hebrews 1. Give it a read if you have the time, I’ll put it below. 
 
See you Sunday!
 
Dan
 
 Heb 1:1 (NIV2011)  In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,  2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.   4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. 
 
  5For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? 
       6And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” 
       7In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.”  8But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.  9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” 
      10He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 11They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. 12You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” 
      13To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?   14Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? 
 

What did you buy for Christmas last year? What did you receive? How long did it last?

This year, would you consider giving to our Christmas Offering? We have special envelopes in the bulletin and in back. The money raised will go into our Renovate 250 fund, to enable us to provide for 250 people a service. Lord willing, this new space will last for decades, and make an eternal difference. In contrast, here is where most of our American money has been going to at Christmas.

In 2016 the bestselling gift was… Hatchimals: Really? An egg, selling for 50 to 60 bucks was the best gift we could find? But, it could be worse.
In 2011 it was… Let’s Rock Elmo. The crazy thing is that we should have known better, because,
In 2008 it was… Elmo Live. The 2002 gift was a remake of an old-time toy.
In 2002 the best-selling gift of Christmas was… Beyblades. And, are you old enough to remember Furby from 1998 (evidently slim picking that year), or Tamagotchi from 1997, or Pogs from 1995?

What difference did those gifts make? A month after we opened them, we forgot where we put them, and a year later we put them in the Goodwill pile. Jesus was right, the stuff we buy down here wears out, but we can store up treasures in Heaven Mt 6:19-20.

Thanks so much for all the gifts you purchased for the Christmas Boxes and Walk to the Manger. Those gifts are storing up treasures in Heaven, they give to others down here and somehow give back to us up there. If you are able to give over and above your regular giving to the Christmas Offering as well, then may God bless you here and there – and may God bless our newer, larger facility in 2018 and beyond!

Also, we wanted you to know we have for your family a Christmas Devotional called, “Advent.” It has Scripture reading recommendations for December 3-25, as well as a devotional for each day. We plan to have it available this
Sunday, and pray it is a blessing to your family.

God Bless, see you this Sunday, for our first message in our new series,

And He Shall Be Called…

 Have you ever wondered if you are really a Christian? How can you tell? How can I know if my kids, or the person I am dating or following really wants to follow Christ? 

Greg Morse at desiringgod.org writes a terrific article about how he was awakened to his own unbelief here. It’s worth the read! 

The book of James, when we take it all in one bite, helps to clarify our Christianity. Are we true followers of Christ, or lukewarm, or just faking it? Come this week to find out

Have you ever wandered away from the Truth? Then James wrote his book for you. He writes to those who are wandering due to all kinds of reasons. Some are suffering persecution, others can’t control their tongues. Some are selfish, others proud, some are rich and others persecuted by the rich. At the very end of the book, he writes:

Jas 5:19 (NIV2011)  My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20  remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

James wrote in Greek, and the word for “wander” he used is “planaho.” Our word “planet” is taken from this word to give the idea that these “wandering stars” aren’t fixed like other stars. Those who are wandering are the “sick” from the previous verses; they aren’t fixed to Christ, and as a result need prayer for forgiveness and healing. If this happens, the wanderer then avoids destruction and has their sins covered.

When we wander, we need restoration, not judgment. God doesn’t give up on us, and we shouldn’t give up on each other. While there is life, there is hope. The key for us wanderers, is to know and admit when we are wandering. This happens in the first song below.

In

I love the final verse quoted below. It was written by Robert Robinson and Martin Madan in 1758. It makes me feel good to know that two guys from a few hundred years ago also needed to be saved from the error of their ways.

 

Oh, to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be!

Let thy goodness, like a fetter,

Bind my wandering heart to thee:

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it

Prone to leave the God I love

Here's my heart Lord, take and seal it

Seal it for Thy courts above.

What a beautiful prayer!

See you Sunday,

Dan

 

As I’m sure you know, while we had a beautiful worship service last week, the one at First Baptist in Sutherland Springs Texas could not have been more different. This small church is now grieving 26 dead and 20 injured. You can read a good synopsis of the story  here.  The last public statement of the shooter was, “Ah f___. I’m a wreck.” 

And there’s the problem.

Without Christ, the world is a wreck, and from Cain on, Satan continues to use people to bring hell to earth. The Bible teaches this truth. Last week we witnessed it. So, what is a church to do? 

The Bible uses the illustration of a local church being like a flock of sheep, led by shepherds (pastors and elders), who get attacked by wolves (Acts 20:28). It is the shepherd’s job to intentionally teach, encourage, nurture, and defend the flock. It’s our intent to defend AnchorPoint not only from wolves who are false teachers, but also from physical predators.  

That’s part of the reason for Renovate 250, to make our children’s department both larger and more secure. We are getting prices at putting exit doors in front of our worship building also, as that was an issue in Texas. For now a sledge hammer seemed like the most effective solution, besides being rather fun to use.  

The elders have appointed a security team led by Jeff Downs, supported by elder Lawrence Walsh, which monitors all three of our buildings and parking lot. The security team is a bit like the shepherd’s sheep dog; gentle most of the time, but always alert, constantly willing to stand between the wolves and the sheep. I asked Jeff to give us an overview of what they are currently doing. Below is his response: 

AnchorPoint Church has a physical security and safety team, the AnchorPoint Church Security Team (APST). This team currently consists of ten individuals, eight of which are licensed/permitted concealed carry permit holders. 

The team uses a scheduling tool to help ensure there is physical security present at each worship service and other major AnchorPoint Church events. In addition to security, the APST will assist with medical situations and emergency events. Recently, the APST lead has solicited membership of a trained emergency medical technician (EMT) and a licensed medical professional from another medical discipline. Both will begin team participation in the New Year. 

During AnchorPoint Church services, there are a minimum of two and up to four active APST members on duty. We intentionally keep the posts relatively confidential. When on duty, each team member is in possession of a two-way radio as are other key AnchorPoint Church individuals. In addition to these team members, there are other congregational members prepared to support the security team at moment’s notice. In addition to the aforementioned training, APST members have completed “Places of Worship -Threat Survival” by GLOBALone Defense Solutions, which had as a focus active shooter survival.    

The APST CY18 calendar includes: 

  • Practice Drills

  • Team training events

  • Security team capability improvements

  • Documented AnchorPoint Church Emergency Preparedness Plan 

If you are willing to serve in a ministry having the goal that others may live, then please contact Jeff Downs to volunteer for an APST position. Please note that there is screening involved prior to APST participation.  

We need everyone at our Church Services to be vigilant! If you see or know (domestically) something, say and do something. If something or someone doesn’t look right (DLR), get up and report the DLR to one of us. We have 2 to 3 people on duty and can’t see everyone everywhere.  

Thanks, your brother in Christ, Jeff

 

It’s our desire to make AnchorPoint the safest place you can be in Rio Rancho, for you and your children. Let’s pray for Gods wisdom and help for our security team – and don’t forget to thank them for their service this Sunday, when we will study James 4:13-17!

 

 Acts 20-28 (NIV2001) Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31So be on your guard!