Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Memorial Day


This weekend as we celebrate Memorial Day, I ask you, “What does Memorial Day mean to you?” - the beginning of summer vacation, bar-b-ques in the back yard, family get-togethers, the running of the Indianapolis 500? All kinds of things happen on this holiday. It is good for us to pause & think about what Memorial Day really means, for its very name, "Memorial Day", calls us to remember the ultimate, sacrifice our armed forces have made to protect our nation’s freedom.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. Understanding that Memorial Day is a uniquely American holiday, I like to think of this holiday originating in the city of Jerusalem.
"on the night Jesus was betrayed, he took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
This Memorial weekend we certainly want to remember the brave service people who died to insure the freedom our country offers. Every weekend we seek to never forget the ONE who died on a cross to set us free indeed.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,
Kyle

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Stay Positive


This weekend at Celebration Community Church we are beginning a brand-new message series called “Stay Positive”. I'm so excited about this message series because we live in a society seemingly obsessed with negativity. All news channels are packed with stories about violence, deaths, or the latest celebrity scandal that portrays only the worst aspects of humankind. Commentators on both sides of the political spectrum berate and belittle each other. Our national media outlets focus so heavily on the negative that it rubs off on us the viewers. When all we hear on the news is about Syrian gas attacks, North Korean nuclear tests, suicide bombers in major European cities and climate change melting the ice caps in Antarctica, we begin to feel hopeless and positive change in anything appears to be a daunting and insurmountable task.
Well I’ve got good news for you. For the next few weeks, we're going to talk about some very important, positive biblical qualities like gratitude, encouragement, generosity, enthusiasm and confidence in our identity as children of God. This weekend we will be kicking off the series talk about optimism and I am so looking forward to you coming to one of our four weekend services. Saturday at 5 or Sunday at 8:30, 10, and 11:30.
In writing to his brothers and sisters in the city of Philippi, the Apostle Paul encourages us as well with these words, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8
Be sure to be a part of this positive and uplifting series at C3.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,
Kyle

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Choose Wisely


Do you remember the Milton Bradley game from the 1960’s “LIFE”? At the games start it gave you a choice to either go directly into business or go to college. For some reason as a kid I always chose the college path. And interestingly when I later played the Game of Life with my kids…I would always encourage them to take the college route. Not that there is anything wrong with skipping college if you are not well suited for it. As graduation for both Hays High School and Fort Hays State University takes place this week, I got to thinking about my own kids graduations.
Graduation was a time filled with mixed feelings -- fulfillment and sadness, anxiety and eagerness. Saying goodbye to the comfortable and secure life within the confines they were accustomed to in order to embrace a new environment. The uncertainty of the future looms large over new graduates as they spread their wings. Armed with diplomas and idealistic dreams, they will charge ahead hopefully with enthusiasm. Graduate need lots of advice, inspiration and especially wisdom.
The Bible’s King Solomon is often called the wisest man who ever lived. When he was young he was told by God that he could have any one thing. What do you think Solomon asked for? Money? Power? Position? Popularity? These might be things that any one of us would choose if given the same offer Solomon had. Instead Solomon chose wisdom. And in doing so, through obtaining wisdom, he became the richest, most powerful, and popular person on earth. What a wise guy!
As graduation approaches we affirm that knowledge is good, but there is a vast difference between "knowledge" (having the facts) and "wisdom" (applying those facts to life). We may amass knowledge, but without wisdom, our knowledge is useless. We must learn how to live out what we know.
A Baccalaureate Worship service for the Hays High School graduating class and their families will take place at the 12th Street Auditorium this Wednesday May 10th at 7pm. Celebration’s Youth ministry will be well represented and the message will be delivered by CrossCurrent’s leader Nick Eiden. All are welcome to attend.
Regretfully Debbie and I will not be able to attend the service or the upcoming HHS & FHSU graduations as we will be traveling to Tucson Arizona to visit my brother Eddie who is still in critical condition in ICU there.
Thank you for your continued prayers.
And to all the Celebration graduates from Encounter and CrossCurrent ministries…
ConGRADulations,
Your pastor and partner in ministry,
Kyle

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

“I Believe, Help My Unbelief”


In our current series, A Case For Christ” we follow Lee Strobel’s journey from atheism toward faith. For some, the beauty, order, and wonder of nature serve as the strongest evidence of God’s truth. For others, the testimonies of changed lives are the strongest proof. Some people need more tangible evidence. Remember Jesus’ disciple Thomas? He was one of the Twelve. He had been close to Jesus and had been taught truth straight from the source himself. Yet, Thomas still struggled with doubt. After the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples, but Thomas wasn’t there. So he didn’t believe it. Thomas needed to see the risen Lord with his own eyes. And guess what? Jesus gave him what he needed— Jesus appeared to Thomas and told him to touch the scars on his hands and his side, to stop doubting, and to believe John 20:27.
Do you ever feel like Thomas—the testimony of others is great, but you need to see the truth for yourself?
Every weekend at C3 we are looking at the challenging questions of the historic life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and then every Monday night in a small group discussion format we are responding to questions of faith and doubt. In this series, we seek to pursue all the avenues we can to discover spiritual truth. As we ask hard questions there may be times when the answers aren’t obvious, when the truth may be hard to discern, when your unanswered questions could cause pain and doubt. But you can trust that God is there in the midst of your search.
If and when you struggle with matters like this, you can pray a prayer like the father who took his son to Jesus to be healed in Mark 9:14–27. You can honestly say to God, as he did, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief”
Join us this weekend at one of our 4 services on Saturday at 5 pm or Sunday at 8:30, 10 or 11:30am. If you want to dig deeper come to C3 this Monday at 6:30pm.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,
Kyle

Monday, April 24, 2017

Who Remembers the Armenians?


In the years during and immediately after the First World War, over one and a half million Armenians were displaced, deported, tortured and killed at the hands of the “Young Turks” of the Muslim Ottoman Empire. Families, primarily Christian who had inhabited this sacred land since the time of Christ were nearly all wiped from the face of the earth. Their homes destroyed, businesses burned, a generation of Armenians watched their men tortured, their women raped, their children crucified and the rest of their relatives taken away from their villages, to be slaughtered in the wilderness.
When Adolf Hitler prepared to embark upon a horrible Holocaust against the Jews, he scoffed at the notion that the world would rebel in revulsion. His response which is etched on a glass wall at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. simply says, "Who remembers the Armenians?"
This weekend Debbie and I watch the movie, “The Promise” which depicts the atrocities of 1915. On April 24th each year Armenians around the world remember the first recorded genocide in modern history. Humanity seemingly has not learned from history as is demonstrated by the continued demonic extermination of peoples in the killing fields of Cambodia, the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, the tribal ravaging in Rwanda, the slavery and slaughter in the Sudan and most recently, ISIS’s aim to destroy all infidels to the Islamic faith.
So today I ask, who remembers the Armenians and all the other martyrs whether Christian or otherwise?
Well today we do.
Your Armenian pastor and partner in ministry,
Kyle

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What A Wonderful Week


What an amazing weekend we had at Celebration Community Church. In all my years at C3 we have never had a Good Friday service. We may have shown a movie in the past like “The Passion of the Christ” but never a service dedicated to Jesus’s sacrifice upon the cross. With this service replacing our normal Saturday evening service, most of our staff thought we might draw about 100-150 people. Much to our surprise over 300 people packed our worship space and overflow rooms. Soul stirring music, a retelling of the last days of Jesus’ life, the sharing of communion and an invitation to nail our sins upon a cross, made for what many people said was “the best service they ever attended”.
Then on Resurrection Sunday morning with Pastor Brant leading the service, almost 400 people packed our Colby campus which was celebrating their 5th anniversary. In Hays between our 9am & 11am services over 1400 people filed into FHSU’s Beach-Schmidt Performing Arts Center to celebrate Easter. During the service, we previewed our next series which begins this weekend called “A Case For Christ”. The series aligns with the book and new release movie about Chicago Tribune investigative journalist Lee Strobel’s journey from being an atheist to a believer. Using Scriptures and video clips from the movie, the series will explore some of the issues people have believing in the Christian faith.
When I heard that the movie was coming out, I called the local theatre to see if they were planning to release the movie here in Hays and I was met with the response that “they would not”. I then contacted the company who is releasing the film and asked them to try and persuade AMC Theatres to book the movie.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn this last Saturday that “A Case for Christ’ was now being shown, freeing me to invite all of the folks I would be talking with on Easter Sunday to check out the movie. Debbie and I and our son Jacob attended the 4:45pm screening on Sunday afternoon and we had trouble finding three seats together. What a joy it was seeing a room full of familiar C3 faces and to make matters even better; the movie was fantastic. I highly recommend you see it while it is still here in Hays and be sure to attend services this weekend as we begin the new series.
On a more somber note, throughout the weekend Debbie and I have been communicating with my sister in law Nancy concerning my oldest brother Eddie who was hospitalized in Tucson with a raging infection which started in his knee and has run rampant throughout his body. As of this writing, Eddie has successfully survived surgery on his knee and strong antibiotics are dealing with the infection. Thank you for your continued prayers and for the healing we expect because of the power of what we celebrated this weekend; the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Your pastor and partner in ministry,
Kyle

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

From “Hosanna” to “Crucify Him”


Palm Sunday should have been the happiest single day in Jesus' life. The crowds had surrounded him with praise and accolades. In John 12:19 the Pharisees murmur: "Look! The whole world has gone after him!" It seemed that way when Palm Sunday began. It looked as though His preaching/healing ministry was to be crowned with success.
But Jesus knew better. He knew how fickle the crowds were; He knew that, when push came to shove, “all would forsake Him and flee,”(Mark 14:50)
The same people who on Palm Sunday had laid their cloaks on the ground before him. The same people who waved Jesus in, on Good Friday waved Jesus out again. The one who rode into town in triumph on Monday, was carried out of town on a cross on Friday.
How quick were the crowds to shout "Hosanna!" on Palm Sunday--but also how quick they were to shout, "Crucify Him!" on Good Friday, when He didn't fit into their notions of what the Messiah should look and act like. Before the week was out, Jesus had been betrayed, arrested, tried, whipped, humiliated, spat upon, cursed at, plotted against, crucified, dead, and buried.
As we begin this week I want to encourage you to welcome the Messiah into your life and may his praise of “Hosanna” blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Mark 11:9) be in your heart and on your lips.
And then I would like to invite you to join us at C3 this Friday at 6:30 pm for a very special Good Friday service. We'll worship together, take communion and respond to Christ's sacrifice for us as we prepare and anticipate celebrating Easter!
Because of our Good Friday service, we will NOT be hosting our regular Saturday evening service.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,
Kyle