A Common Theme

One of the many things I have enjoyed in my time alone with God is when He shows me something new in the Scriptures. It’s always been there but for some reason I had not noticed it before. This theme has stood out to me in the last few months and I want to share it with you. It is the Holy Spirit’s power working in His people. This theme is in the Old and New Testaments. I find this to be very important because the same Spirit that empowered them is the same Spirit that empowers us. The power of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life is vital to serving our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King. 

I always enjoy the stories of the Old Testament but not until recently did I notice the power of the Holy Spirit in a lot of these passages. Look at the story of Samson. The Philistines had received Samson as a prisoner and the Bible says, “then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon Him”, (Judges 15:14 ESV). When that happened, he killed 1,000 Philistine men with the jawbone of a donkey. Another story in the Old Testament is that of David. “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him, (David) in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward”, (1 Samuel 16:13 ESV). David’s life became effective at this time because the Holy Spirit began to empower him. You can see this played out in the very next chapter where he takes on Goliath! 

There are stories in the New Testament that show the power of the Holy Spirit in the early church. One of my favorite stories is when we see the Holy Spirit empower Peter is in Acts 4. This is the same Peter who was scared and denied Jesus in Luke 22:54-62. Peter and John are arrested and they will not back down from preaching the Gospel. In this story Peter and John knew that the people who arrested them were the ones who called for the death of Jesus. Peter and John were not afraid but instead were filled with the Holy Spirit. This power allowed Peter to speak in boldness to them in Acts 4:18-13 ESV: 

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead-by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved”. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished”. 

There are many instances in the Bible, (more than can be put in this Newsletter) where the Holy Spirit comes upon the person first and then they are effective for God. It is the same way for believers today as it was in the Old and New Testaments. If we want to serve God effectively, then we need to come to God and ask Him for help. There should be a point in our lives where we tell God, “I can’t do this on my own”, and this should be the point when we ask for the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we come to this realization, then we will be able to reach others and serve God more effectively. 

Difficult Questions

The Bible is an amazing book! It is God’s divine, written word to us. The Bible has the power to give life through the power of the gospel that covers its pages. The Bible is full of hope, able to penetrate to our very souls so that it can surgically excise our sinful character. The Bible is inerrant and is without contradictions. It is completely and absolutely true. There is no other book given to men that is as powerful. God is to be praised for giving us His word so that we can know Him more! 

While Scripture accomplishes these things—and even much more than I have listed—it is also full of statements, teachings, doctrines, and messages that are really difficult for us to hear. It seems hard to believe that one of the identifying marks of a believer is that we will suffer, just like our Master. It seems difficult to realize that Scripture calls a believer to live a countercultural life while here on this earth. The very things that are totally acceptable and even popular within a culture are rejected by Scripture. While I totally believe Scripture, these hard truths often collide with our society and now leave us as believers with some difficult questions that we need answered. 

Even though we have difficult questions that we desire answers to, we can rest assured that the same Scripture that declares these hard truths also gives us the answers to these questions. Jesus longs for us to know Him and to know the answers, and we can get them directly from Him. To help our church find these answers to these difficult questions, I am going to lead a 4-week study on answering these difficult questions directly from Scripture.

We will begin on Sunday, July 30th at 10am in the Sanctuary. But before we get there, I’m asking you to submit a difficult question you’d like to discuss. You can submit them by emailing me, filling out a Connect Card, or put your question on the index card and place it into the box in the foyer. I’m trusting that this will be a great discussion and blessed time. Life is difficult. Faith can seem difficult. Let’s turn together to God’s Word and see these difficulties dealt with by Jesus Himself. 

Give Thanks

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November is upon us. While I’m not a fan of the colder weather and the shorter times of daylight, there are so many things that I love about the month. I get to celebrate my wedding anniversary, my birthday, the birthday of my son and grandmother, and we get to celebrate those who were called to service in the U.S. Armed Forces on Veterans Day!

This is a great list of opportunities for rejoicing and celebration. In my article for the CDAC Newsletter last month, I mentioned what the purpose of life is—it is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. There seems to be a common theme between the chief end of man and all of these great things that November brings—there seems to be a response to all of the greatness that God has bestowed on you and on me. My friends, the response that we see in Scripture is the response of thanksgiving.

We have a lot to be thankful for. If I were able to write down everything that I’m thankful for, the newsletter would quickly turn into a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Instead, I want to give you 3 brief reasons why it is so important for us to be a people of thanksgiving.

1. Giving thanks acknowledges that we have been given everything. Whether it is our salvation found in Jesus or the food we eat every day or the healing that we received from a devastating diagnosis to the love of a wonderful family, by giving thanks we understand that all has been given by such a gracious God.

2. Giving thanks leads us into worship. The first words of Psalm 136 are “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good…” But then the Psalmist doesn’t simply leave it there, but he leads us into worship of God by uttering, “for his steadfast love endures forever.” Giving thanks to God can only lead us into worship because when we look at the great love, power, and provision of God, we can’t help but give thanks and worship.

3. Giving thanks is the mark of the redeemed. Giving thanks is not a natural thing for a human being to give. Thanksgiving is the mark of the children of God. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 states, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

If we are all about God, we will be a people who constantly give thanks. May you all have an incredibly blessed Thanksgiving season this year!

Pastor Adam K. Sellen, Lead Pastor

Ambassadors for Christ

I love to hear stories and examples of how God works in people’s lives. I love to hear how He provided for a need or how He worked a mighty healing. I love to hear how God orchestrated daily events and circumstances for someone to be able to hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Over the past weeks, I’ve been privileged to hear such stories and to give thanks and praise to God. 

It is undeniable that God is the one doing the work in these lives. But it is equally undeniable that God has chosen to use His Church to be the instruments with which He works. As His Church, we are called to serve. We are called to put the needs of others way above our own needs and desires no matter what the cost is to us. 

I see the apostle Paul attesting to this in 2 Corinthians 5. Paul is talking to the Corinthian church about the need of reconciliation with God. We have to understand that because of sin, we are at war with God (James 4:4), which separates us from Him and the relationship that He created us for in the first place. But because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, paying the penalty of our sin and restoring the relationship of all who believe, we can be reconciled to God. 

There is an important question that Scripture poses—if no one tells the message from the King, who will be able to be reconciled? That’s why Paul reminds us in v. 20 that, “we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” As believers in Jesus, we have been given a message to give to the world—be reconciled to God. We are His Ambassadors. 

We have a calling here at CDAC for every person to be an ambassador for Christ as you take the message of the gospel to those we love. It is important to understand just how this is done and what your role in this mission of service you have. 

  • Talk about Jesus with your friends and neighbors, family and coworkers—let them see Jesus in you and hear why you have hope in Christ.
  • Serving in outreach opportunities that take this message to the community—through VBS, Fall Festival, or our booth that was set up at the Arts and Music Festival—the Church provides opportunities for being an ambassador. 

Please be in prayer about how God would desire you to be His Ambassador specifically. 

My friends, we have been given a message to the world from our King. Let us be determined to deliver it and see Christ do mighty things in the lives of this world. 

Stir It Up

Everyone has questions that they want to have answered.  As a pastor, I’ve had my share of questions, but I’ve also had people come and ask me questions.  Most of them have to do with faith issues or “what does the Bible say about this” kinds of questions.  They are important and are in need of an answer.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you didn’t have anyone to ask these questions?  What would it be like to be pressed into a situation in your life where you needed to make a decision or take a stand but had no one to help you through this decision making process?  I oftentimes ponder these thoughts when someone comes to me and makes the statement “I love Jesus, but I just don’t need the church.”  This is such a gross misunderstanding of what God really intends for us, His Children, to have in our lives.

The writer of the book of Hebrews tackles this issue in chapter 10.  In verses 19-22, the writer points out that since Jesus has paid our way to enter the holy presence of God, we are urged to draw near to Him with complete assurance that God longs for us to be there and that Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient enough to get us there. 

But the writer goes on in v. 24-25 to discuss a very important point, where he says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  We find in this passage a very important point—we were never meant to live a life of faith alone.  Christ calls us to community—to sharing our life’s struggles and successes with each other and encouraging one another to grow to know Jesus more and more. 

Scripture shows us that our lives are missing something if we don’t live in community with the church.  We have been extremely blessed as a congregation to see God growing our church.  This excites me greatly.  But I also know that some in our midst are missing out on a great blessing because of a fear of getting too close to others. 

I want to challenge each of you to take the risk and introduce yourself to someone you might not know, or speak a word of encouragement to someone who looks lost or pray for someone who needs the touch of God or wisdom in a particular situation.  It might be a good idea even to share a meal with this person.  Whatever God directs you to do, be faithful to do it. Let’s be a church that is interested in stirring each other up to love and good works.

Aches & Pains

Originally Posted January 14, 2015 By Pastor Adam

I hear the same moans and groans from people (and sometimes even myself) about the terrible ordeal it is trying to get out of bed in the morning.  We all know that it is time to get up, but before we even begin the process, some of us need to go through a pre-movement checklist to make sure that all of the parts are present, accounted for, and functioning.  As we get older, our bodies just tend to hurt.

While we all have these pains in life, we all respond to them differently.  Some of us go straight to the medicine cabinet and hit the Tylenol bottle first thing in the morning.  Others try some cream like Icy/Hot or Bengay to try to soothe the sore muscles and limbs.  Another contingent tries to get rid of the pain through other natural means such as stretching, a hot shower, or massage treatments.  Finally, there is a small group that simply says to themselves, “I’m going to tough it out.”  Regardless of how you deal with these aches and pains, we all can agree that we have them in our lives.

I had the opportunity today to watch a video blog from the President of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (make sure to check out www.cmalliance.org to find out more about who we are as a denomination) John Stumbo.  He was dealing with a really tough subject today–how do we deal with pain in the body of Christ.  We see through Scripture that the church is called the body and we are all to function together to make sure that we are growing closer with the Lord Jesus every day and to serve Him with all of our being.  But lately, he pointed out, that there are segments in our population that are dealing with incredible pain–the disenfranchised, those who are victims of injustice or other atrocities.  John challenged us in this blog to examine how we react when the body aches?  Do we simply tell it to tough it out or do we care and hurt along with it, looking to Jesus to bring us relief?

There are people in our local churches who are hurting today.  Do we hurt with them?  Do we care?  There are countless others around the world today who are aching–do we ache for them to experience the gentle caress of the Healer?  Your church needs you to be there for it.  Don’t miss this opportunity to be the Church that Christ has called you to be.

Set the Tone

Originally Posted October 30, 2014 By Pastor Adam

We are presented an opportunity each year since President Abraham Lincoln enacted the national holiday of Thanksgiving.  On the fourth Thursday in November, the people of the US take time to enjoy a great dinner (where we usually eat way too much) with family and friends, expressing an attitude of thanksgiving for all that we have.  Aside from the immense quantities of food that we intake, Thanksgiving is truly a healthy holiday for everyone to celebrate.

While everyone can celebrate Thanksgiving, we as believers have the extra honor and privilege to celebrate knowing that all we have comes from God, and we are truly expressing our thanks to Him for all He provides.  I love taking time, especially during November, to write down and think about all of the things that I am thankful to God for.  I’m sure that if you’d compile such a list, it would prove to be a blessed list as well.

But I look to the Scriptures, and I don’t see a set time for Thanksgiving.  We celebrate it in November, but in Biblical times, there is no such holiday.  Why?  Is it that the people weren’t grateful for God’s presence and provision?  They totally were.  The reason why it isn’t a holiday is that we see Scripture calling us to a lifestyle of Thanksgiving.  We, as Paul told the Thessalonian church, are to give thanks in all circumstances, which I can now apply to in everything at all times.

Let this November be a time of great Thanksgiving to God.  But even more than that, let this season of Thanksgiving set the tone for a lifestyle of Thanksgiving.  If you want to see something transform your walk with Christ, nothing will do it like thanksgiving!