Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Honor Your Father And Your Mother


"Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you." Deuteronomy 5:16
"Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise-- Ephesians 6:2
Last weekend as we celebrated Father’s Day, I got to thinking as a father and grandfather myself, about the lasting imprint left on me by my father and grandfathers. As I look back I can appreciate the mark they made on who I am today.
The apostle Paul reminds us that the fifth commandment, "Honor your father and your mother…”, is the first commandment with a promise: "so that all may go well with you, and you may live a long time in the land".
A long time ago when as a kid a Sunday School teacher asked me what that verse meant, I can faintly remember saying something like, "I better do what my parents say or they'll kill me." Though there may be some parents who would not dispute that understanding, I don't think that's what Moses in Deuteronomy or Paul writing to the church at Ephesus had in mind. "That… you may live a long time in the land" is not a guarantee of extra years of life to individuals who honor their parents. It is a promise to preserve the social order that respects preceding generations.
These commandments were given by God after Israel exodused Egypt and before they entered and occupied the Promised Land. These people were a brand-new nation so God gave them laws and a covenant to show them how to live well together. History has proven to us that good individuals may die young, but cultures in which people honor the aged, endure with stability. It is disheartening to see that the older I get, the less respect I see being given to parents and grandparents.
I believe one of the of the reasons that the Chinese culture has survived thousands of years through many political and social revolutions is that through it all, they continued to value the honoring of parents and grandparents. They didn’t do it because it was spoken by God through Moses, but simply because it was wise. The notion of "that you may live a long time in the land" is not a tempting bribe to good conduct, but a statement of fact about nations and for that matter, families in which honor is found.
Remember, the Bible doesn't say who is to honor you, but whom you are to honor.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,
Kyle

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Father


“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in 7 years." I have heard that quote attributed to yesteryear’s humorist Mark Twain. It was and is a truly wise observation.
It's disheartening to see young people show little respect for their fathers and mothers. But as they mature, as I did, hopefully we begin to recognize that Mom and Dad knew a lot more than we gave them credit for.
On the other hand, some young people come to realize regrettably that if they had only followed the counsel of their parents they could have avoided much heartache both for themselves and their family. The Bible says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother,' which is the first commandment with promise: 'that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth'" Ephesians 6:1-3.
The book of Proverbs counsels, "Listen to your father who begot you . . . . The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him" 23:22,24.
This Sunday is Father’s Day. I encourage you to take some time to think about your father fondly and if he is still with us, call him, take him to lunch if you can, and thank him for giving you the gift of life.
He wasn’t perfect, he messed up but we are commanded to “instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you" Ephesians 4:32. That would be the wise thing to do.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,
Kyle

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Home Cookin’


My wife Debbie and I are at home enjoying the company of our four grandkids from Atlanta Georgia. We are playing with them, reading to them, singing along with them, and hopefully feeding these gifts from God physically, emotionally and Spiritually. God has entrusted us all with children and grandchildren for the purpose of growing them up in the knowledge and love of His Son Jesus Christ.
Debbie has been busy planning lots of activities at “Camp Grammie” as well as fixing healthy and nourishing meals. I got to thinking that the same thing holds true for all of us as Christians. If we are well nourished we will be healthy and we will yearn to grow even more. When our kids are babies their need for milk is a natural instinct. For a baby, it signals the desire for nourishment that will lead to growth. Once we see our need for God's Word and begin to find nourishment in Christ, our spiritual appetite will increase, and we will start to mature.
1 Peter 2:2 says, “Like newborn babies crave spiritual milk so by it you may grow up in your salvation.”
At Celebration Community Church, we strive to nourish all children and adults with healthy Biblical, Spiritual food. This is the motivation behind our C3 Kids Camp June 8-10. Each year DeLynn Rice and her Children’s Ministry volunteers feed a few dozen kids the spiritual milk that is vital to their growth.
Please pray that over the next couple of days that DeLynn and her crew will impart to the kids who come to camp daily servings of worship, praise, learning God’s word while being seasoned with loving and fun will help grow these kids in body mind and spirit.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,
Kyle

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Greatest Returns


Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me…for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14
The Barna Research Group have consistently shown that the majority of people give their lives to Christ before the age of 18, but this recent study is the first that has shown the probabilities at various ages. It also has shown that the evangelistic impact is getting younger.
The study points out that children and adolescents are most impacted evangelistically by family members, peers and their churches activities like Sunday school, Kids Church, Vacation Bible School, etc. In fact, the years prior to age 12 are when a majority of children make their decision as to whether or not they will follow Christ. This is one of the reasons Debbie and I want to invest the next years of our lives and love into our four grandchildren, all of whom are 10 and under.
At Celebration Community Church we concentrate a lot of our time and resources on Children, Youth and College ministries. We invest in programs like our school, Victory Christian Academy, our C3 Kids children’s ministry which just finished Vacation Bible School and puts on a summer camp June 8th -June 10th and KIDFEST on August 19th. SO many kids get connected and grow in their faith through events like these.
Even though the Barna study says that only 4% of teens have a likelihood of trusting in Christ we at C3 believe it is a good investment to pour a tremendous amount of time and money into relevant youth and college ministries. Our CrossCurrent student ministries goes on yearly mission trips, puts on summer camps for Middle School and an upcoming High School camp, June 2nd -7th. CrossCurrent is also sponsoring a Youth Conference called “The Event” this August 4-5th.
Our Encounter College Ministry has in the last year been reaching around 400 FHSU students every week and continues to meet throughout the summer since returning 40 students from a Haiti mission trip.
There is no summer slowdown when it comes to doing whatever we can to reach young people for the Lord at C3. Thank you to all of you who support these ministries through your ongoing tithes and offerings.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,
Kyle

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