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Pastor's Corner -  July 21st

Finally, Jonah reaches the city of Nineveh and preaches a call to repentance. Then the power of God’s great love sweeps through the streets and fills every alley. This message begins to steep in every soul. Every citizen (including the king and the cattle) cover themselves in sackcloths to fast to the Lord. The power of our grace is in full swing. This is revival. 

I can’t help but wonder what a revival would look like in the greater Marion County. Just imagine the Spirit sweeping down the Main Streets of Pella, Knoxville and etc. Hymns being song of God’s great rescue in every shop on the corner. Stories of broken homes being restored and lost souls being found. Light shining in every dark space in our communities. This is revival. 

But it must be noted that repentance plays a quintessential role in every revival. We know repentance requires turning away from all that holds us back (i.e. idols, addiction, abuse, and materialism etc.) and turning to God’s great love. Revivals often begin with one person. Like Jonah, one person receives a message from God, repents and turns their lives over to God. Which can cause the surrounding people to sit up and take notice. Then like a mighty flame, others catch fire and the good news spreads. This is revival. 

Maybe you are like me and you dream about a revival swelling in our city and beyond. If so, what does the God of Nineveh need to revive in our own hearts? Let’s turn away from all that hinders us and run with abandon towards God’s love! Perhaps others will take notice and follow us. This is revival!

~Pastor Chris Allen

 

 

 

 

Previous Pastor Corner Blogs

Jonah Reaches the City

July 21, 2019
By Pastor Chris Allen

Finally, Jonah reaches the city of Nineveh and preaches a call to repentance. Then the power of God’s great love sweeps through the streets and fills every alley. This message begins to steep in every soul. Every citizen (including the king and the cattle) cover themselves in sackcloths to fast to the Lord. The power of our grace is in full swing. This is revival. 

I can’t help but wonder what a revival would look like in the greater Marion County. Just imagine the Spirit sweeping down the Main Streets of Pella, Knoxville and etc. Hymns being song of God’s great rescue in every shop on the corner. Stories of broken homes being restored and lost souls being found. Light shining in every dark space in our communities. This is revival. 

But it must be noted that repentance plays a quintessential role in every revival. We know repentance requires turning away from all that holds us back (i.e. idols, addiction, abuse, and materialism etc.) and turning to God’s great love. Revivals often begin with one person. Like Jonah, one person receives a message from God, repents and turns their lives over to God. Which can cause the surrounding people to sit up and take notice. Then like a mighty flame, others catch fire and the good news spreads. This is revival. 

Maybe you are like me and you dream about a revival swelling in our city and beyond. If so, what does the God of Nineveh need to revive in our own hearts? Let’s turn away from all that hinders us and run with abandon towards God’s love! Perhaps others will take notice and follow us. This is revival!

~Pastor Chris Allen

This Week the Church...

July 14, 2019
By Pastor Chris Allen

This week the church will be alive each evening full of kids experiencing ROAR Vacation Bible School!

We will be going on a ROARING adventure!

At Roar VBS, kids will discover that even though life gets wild, God is good. Roar is filled with incredible Bible-learning experiences kids see, hear, touch, and even taste! Sciency-Fun Gizmos, team-building games, cool Bible songs, and tasty treats are just a few of the standout activities that help faith flow into real life. (Since everything is hands-on, kids might get a little messy. Be sure to send them in play clothes and safe shoes.) Plus, we’ll help kids discover how to see evidence of God in everyday life—something we call God Sightings. Get ready to hear that phrase a lot! Parents, grandparents, and friends are invited to join us at Safari Celebration each evening from 8:15 pm—8:30 pm.

Our lessons for the week are:

-When life is unfair...God is good!

-When life changes...God is good!

-When life is scary...God is good!

-When life is sad...God is good!

-When life is good...God is good!

Maybe there’s someone at your job, maybe there’s a neighbor...someone is awaiting your invitation for their child(ren) to participate in this life-changing adventure! Take the risk to  invite them!!

The Turning Point

July 07, 2019
By Pastor Chris Allen

The turning point for Jonah’s life begins in the belly of a great fish. In this unusual space he cries a prayer that reveals the heart of humanity. We cannot simply run from our own failures or the brokenness of this world. We desperately need a rescuer. 

Jonah was in the dark.  He was “alone” with his own thoughts. To paraphrase German philosopher, Friedrich Neitzsche, “When you stare into the abyss, the abyss can stare back at you.” In the darkness, we have nothing to distract us from taking a hard look at ourselves and who we have become. Within this context Jonah finally faces himself and returns to God. 

“Return” is another way to define “repent”. To repent is turn away from sin and return to God. But it is essential to note that we don’t return to God with our tails between our legs. The Lord actually receives us with open arms like the father of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). God calls us to repent/return to him for his good and for own good too. Repentance ought not be a dirty word. But rather a word that best describes our response to the irresistible grace of God. 

Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann declares “Jonah’s prayer, the only poetry in the narrative of Jonah, is the centerpiece of the book.  That prayer does not occur in a vacuum, but at one moment in the ongoing vexed transaction between Jonah and his God.” The Lord’s answer to this prayer reveals the heart of God for all of us. The fish spits Jonah out on shore and the Lord sends his redeemed servant in the direction he was meant to go all along. May the Lord do the same for us every time we repent/return to him!

Countless are the Moments

June 30, 2019
By Pastor Chris Allen

Countless are the moments when our thoughts and passions do not coincide with God’s heart. One of my closest friends would joke: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” Sometimes we forget that our dreams are pretty small compared to the grandiose plans of God. We believe that. Yet we still reach an impasse with the Lord’s plans because of mere inconvenience or sheer disagreement. 

This is the story of Jonah. When Jonah received instructions from God he did the opposite. Because Jonah wanted to call the shots regarding who he would serve for the Lord. Jonah had his own destination in mind. But he soon found out that no matter how far you run off course nothing can impede the will of the Lord. Eventually the relentless heart of God swallows him up like a great fish. This begs the question: what are God’s plans for you? Are you running against God’s current or diving headfirst into the sea of his providence and grace?

Be still for a moment and imagine how your morning could have been different if you had been more flexible to God’s vision for your day. Would your posture and attitude have been different? Would you have talked, acted or felt the same? Would you still sweat the small stuff? It is not too late to pursue God’s vision for today. Like Jonah, we can still make up for lost time. Every moment is a chance to go in the right direction. Let’s jump out of these boats heading the wrong way and let God consume our lives!

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