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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!

 

Want to be better looking?

AnchorPoint can help!

 

 

 

 

There are some good reasons to try to gain Godly wisdom:

It’s the first step of the Gospel.

It’s an essential, maybe the essential ingredient for spiritual growth.

It brings blessing. Pv 3:13-18

But, the best reason of all…..

It can make you better looking.

Ecclesiastes 8:1 says, "A person’s wisdom brightens their face and changes its hard appearance." (NIV)

OK, it’s not the best reason to gain wisdom, but it is a reason, and it is in the Bible. I think I’ve seen evidence of this, especially in older people.

Like my age.

I’ve seen years of bitterness and striving to get ahead, leaving people looking sour. It’s as if the inside somehow leaked out and took over their skin. However, I’ve also seen folks that after years of generosity, grace and compassion, glow in their later years.

I don’t want to look sour.

Of course, I also don’t expect to look like Brad Pitt by becoming wiser. Not that I would mind. But a bit of the glow Moses acquired by spending time with God in Exodus 34, that I would welcome.

This Sunday we are in James 3:13 – 4:10, a passage that compares the worlds "wisdom," and the death it leaves in its wake, to God’s wisdom, and the peace it brings.

I hope you can join us. Maybe we can become the good-looking church.

To God anyway.

Dan

 

Sunday, October 29, 2017, is Reformation Sunday, and I (Pastor Reinaldo) will be teaching about the Reformation.  Reformation Day falls each year on October 31.  But this October 31 is a very special Reformation Day as we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation.

Let’s start with the basics.  First, what is a “reformation”?  According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

reformation – a :the act of reforming; b :the state of being reformed

I don’t know about you but I don’t find that very helpful.  Let’s back up a bit and look at the definition of the word “reform.”  Again, from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

reform – a :to put or change into an improved form or condition; b :to amend or improve by change of form or removal of faults or abuses

Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.  Let’s couple that definition with the definition of “The Reformation” (the article “The” and uppercase “R” make all the difference here),

The Reformation – a 16th century religious movement marked ultimately by rejection or modification of some Roman Catholic doctrine and practice and establishment of the Protestant churches

Consistent with this definition, the Reformation, which officially began on October 31, 1517, was a 16th century movement aimed at changing and improving the condition of the Roman Catholic Church (only church denomination in Western Europe back then) by way rejecting its abuses, removing its faults, and returning it to the doctrines and practices of the teachings of Christ and the Apostles, as prescribed in Scripture.  You might say that the Reformers rediscovered the gospel in much the same way that King Josiah rediscovered the Law and enacted reforms in Israel during the second half of the 7th century BC (2 Kings 22-23 & 2 Chronicles 34-35).

Depending on which Church historian one listens to, the Church began a steep decline—moral, ethical, doctrinal, etc.—some 1,000 years prior to the 16th century.  One of the Reformers, John Calvin, admired Pope Gregory I (in office from 590 – 604) and commented that he was “the last good pope.”  Over the years the decline escalated—or deescalated, rather—to the extent that by the 16th century the Church bore little resemblance to the Church Christ founded and which the Apostles established in the 1st century.  Sad.

Next week: REFORMATION 102 – Why Is Reformation Day Celebrated on October 31?

To kneel, or not to kneel during the national anthem, that is the question. 

You may be surprised to know that this isn’t an important question to me because I was thinking of posting my NFL availability on Monster.com. Actually, I was just tired of the debate, so it seemed wise that AnchorPoint would decide for the nation. Once we decide, I believe the civilized world ought to follow.  

There’s the rub. 

I want the world to be Kingdom Cooley. When people aren’t driving the way I believe they should, I’m frustrated. When the NFL doesn’t play by my rules I can yell at the TV or post on Facebook. When things aren’t going the way I want them to go at home, JoLynn straightens me out. I didn’t say it was Kingdom Dan Cooley. 

I’ll admit it, if I tried out for the NFL, I’d be the victim of age discrimination. However, this football thing really does bring up a much more important question. What is true Christianity? What does the Christian life look like? How should it affect playing in and responding to the NFL, driving on 528, and loving my wife?  

The Christian life is the opposite of Kingdom Cooley. Its focus is Christ, He loves us, and that changes everything. He gives us new life, and makes us part of a kingdom where He is King. Christianity is giving up Kingdom Self for Kingdom Christ. It’s lived out by answering the question, "How can I better love God and others?" 

That can be a bit convicting when thinking about driving habits and Facebook posts. Am I really advancing the Kingdom of God with my behavior? Before I judge an NFL player, I’d best look in the mirror. 

One thing I hate about the book of James. It convicts me. This week we will be in James 1:19-27. I hope you can read it through a few times and join us on Sunday.