Reaching Jacksonville with the life-giving message of Jesus

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River Reach News 12/8

I think it is fitting that Christmas falls at the end of the year.  Life has a way of weighing us down. If we get caught up in the race of life throughout the year, it is easy for our attention to to be diverted from a Christ-focus to a life-focus. The inevitable result will be increased emptiness and weariness.  Discontentment driven by a desire for more earthly comfort and gratification will soon leave us empty.  Our fallen nature leaves us extremely susceptible to self-motivated living rather than faith motivated pursuit of God and His will.  In Isaiah 7-8 we find the nation of Judah caught again in such a trap.  Once again their own way leads to devastation and emptiness. Have you been caught in the same trap?  Thank God He doesn’t leave us in our darkness!  The story of Christmas reminds us that God shines the light of hope into even the darkest night!

And we’re back! River Reach News 12/1

Christmas is only 24 days away!  Retail stores would love us to believe that Christmas is all about shopping and gifting the latest and greatest to yourself and loved ones.  Christmas is about gift giving.  It is about God’s greatest gift to us.  A little baby boy named “Immanuel” or “God with us”! (Matthew 1:21-23) For the next several weeks I would like to continue in the context of our study in Isaiah to consider the announcement of Christ’s birth 730 years before it happened! (Isaiah 7:14)  The virgin birth of Jesus Christ is not simply a unique theological feature, but a foundation for our faith.

River Reach News 11/3

Several years ago our family headed to the airport to catch a flight out of town.  We packed our bags, grabbed our young children and made it to the airport ahead of time.  After frantically trying to get everyone through the TSA security check, we made our way toward the terminals.  Our children we amazed at the escalators and moving walkways.  We took several rides, snapped a few pictures, looked out the windows to watch the planes.  Suddenly our moment of ease was interrupted when we heard or names being called over the loudspeakers.  It was the final call for boarding for our flight!  Somehow we had the wrong time in our minds!  We quickly grabbed our luggage and our children and raced to the boarding gate.  By God’s grace we made it onto our flight.  For many believers, salvation is a rush that enters us into the blessing of new life in Christ.  Everything is new and exciting, but too often once we are in Christ we lose sight of God’s will for our life and begin to meander through life chasing our own dreams and interests.  Our greatest need as believers is to gain a better view of the majesty of God’s holiness and the incredible mercy we have received in Christ (Isaiah 6:1-7).  When you see the glory of God, you will become attentive to His voice and delight to serve Him.  

River Reach News 10/27 / Fall Fun Fest!

Have you ever been caught in a situation that just seemed hopeless?  Everywhere you look is a closed door, a dead end road, or a deep pit.  Everything you try fails and leaves you even further behind.  These elements are the components of a perfect nightmare!  I need hope.  I need to know there is a solution.  Mankind is caught in such a nightmare.  We are sinners by nature without any capability to solve our greatest problems.  We are like a ship with holes in it that only continue to grow.  We try to make patches and repair gaping holes only to find that the material we are working with is corrupt and worthless.  The gash continues to grow!  Without external intervention our destination will be doom.  Thank God He offers hope to every sinner!

River Reach News 10/20

One of the most deceitful and undetectable sins is the sin of pride.  Pride infiltrates to the inner core of our beings and sabotages the roots of our thinking.  It reprograms our logical rationale and skews our self-perception.  Pride is an unabashed self-seeker.  Pride will not stop till we have dethroned God in our own minds and hearts and placed ourselves on His throne.  Pride is crafty enough to let us believe that we honor God while in reality we have left Him as only a puppet to approve of our own sovereignty.  Pride gives us the license to pursue all other sins.  Because pride is a direct rival to God, He has placed it at the top of His enemy list (Isaiah 2:11-12).

River Reach News 10/13

It is almost impossible to keep up with how fast our world is changing.  Some of the change is good, but it seems like the advance of ungodliness is accelerating rapidly.  This reality does not come as a shock to Christians who read their Bibles (2 Peter 3:3-4; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).  Should we live in fear?  Should we join the world in living for ourselves?  In the midst of a society very similar to ours, the prophet Isaiah sees a vision of the future that gives us solid hope and challenges us in the present to seek first the kingdom of God.

River Reach News 10/6

No relationship ever stays the same. Relationships are constantly changing because people are constantly changing. Friendships from school, or past employments that once were very close often drift apart due to the separation of distance and time. Our relationship with God is constantly changing not because God changes, but because we are always changing.

River Reach News 9/29

Every sin is destructive.  Sins overlooked lead to devastation, heartbreak, spiritual and emotional injuries, and most significantly, an injured relationship with our loving heavenly Father.  This Sunday morning the Holy Spirit through the prophet Isaiah will paint a dreadful picture of sin and its devastation but also point us to the magnificent hope for sinners!