We are a family rooted in Christ but as with everything in this world it takes much effort, care and love to keep a family strong, safe and firmly rooted. May we never lose heart and allow ourselves to be deceived. For we know Christ and live to serve Him and are awaiting His return as we His body live for Him. May we always remember who has given all for us, so that we may live God’s mystery, that is Christ Himself. That said let's look at Colossians.
Colossians 2:4-12 (I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument. For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.)
As we all serve Christ here it doesn't mean we will never have our personal struggles, we all do. We must be humble enough to know the need and to ask for prayers and to accept help with our struggles. All of us are here to help one another stay firmly rooted in our faith and to reach the goal together.
In Him, Chuck Saarloos
Hebrews 6:17-20 (In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.)
If you have taken refuge and are an heir of the promise of God whom cannot lie, for with Him it is impossible. Then your hope and excitement should be great. All the glories of Heaven that have been spoken from the beginning. For all your belief and diligence, working for the hope of the soul saving Word that is Jesus and following what is commanded of us, everlasting life in Heaven.
So, if it is impossible for God to lie, then should not all men also fear hell? For the fire and brimstone, the pain, weeping and gnashing of teeth that will never end, NEVER END, must also be real. So, if you are reading this and are not sure of the promise or how to attain it, ask one of us and we will gladly share the truth of the Word of God with you.
Romans 6:3-5 (Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.)
There you have it, do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and died for your sins only to be raised the third day and live again? Believe, confess, repent of your sins and be baptized into Christ and serve Him with us. It's a glorious promise and a wonderful journey.
Do you have a real hope in a real forever future? Don't delay and do something about it today.
Romans 6:8 (Now if we have died with Christ, we believe we shall also live with Him,)
In Him, Chuck Saarloos
I’d like to take you back in time to think about some of the happiest moments in your life. Do you have the picture there in your mind? Take a look at who is there with you. Are they in your life today? So many things change as we go through life. Maybe we move away or someone you are close to does and you fall out of contact due to this busy life. Who do you have the fondest memories of and are they still with us today?
My oldest son, whom we were able to have in our lives for almost 16 years, brings so many fond memories. Yes, there are painful ones but I don't focus on those. He is missed by so many. My sister Kathy, that we also have lost, brings me many happy memories from my youth; and as she became an adult, her funny sneaky pranks, and her bigger than life heart is always remembered. There are also the things that I had learned from my dad and my wife's parents. Papa Joe, as the easy going man, always here laughing and making jokes. We miss them all and all the cherished memories.
So on your trip down memory lane with family and friends, hopefully, they are mostly fond memories for you. All the people you have met in this life, how many will go with you to the next? My fond memories of some are saddened when I think that they left this life not truly knowing Jesus. At the time, many did, but for some, they didn't want to hear no matter our efforts to share God’s word. Though people will reject God and His word at times we must not get discouraged and give up trying or we will live with that regret. It's a brand new year again and the opportunity to help others in our life to find the truth still remains. Some will listen and some will not. We will regret the ones that we didn't try to reach and be sad for those whom reject Christ. Everyone has the freedom to choose their own direction and we can't control that no matter how much it hurts. Let us take advantage of the time we have here to reach all those we meet with God’s word. Don't let memories haunt you because you didn't try. The road to destruction is wide and many will take it. Let us stay on the narrow road that leads to everlasting life and bring as many as will hear to come along. Have a great year building more memories with this wonderful loving family of God here in Ripon. Truly rare, are the wonderful servants of God we have here to serve with. We love this family and feel blessed by being a part of it. Let us bring souls to His words.
In Him, Chuck Saarloos
Do you remember back when you were young and it seemed like your bicycle was such a big part of your life? Not just for a way to get around but what you did for fun. The type of riding you did would make a determination on what gauge of spokes you needed in your wheels. I don't know how many of you noticed but there are different amounts of spokes and different thicknesses of those spokes depending on if you were a street rider or an off road rider. If you raced on or off road it took a different wheel and spoke. The spoke is very important to the function of the wheel and it takes many to accomplish the job. They all provide the strength needed not to bend or break. They all have individual adjustment to keep the wheel true and tracking straight. If you lose even one spoke you risk having the wheel bend or start tracking untrue or not straight.
A congregation of the Lord’s church is much the same. We are a family of Christian people all working toward a common goal and trying to stay on the straight path. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses and if we work together to use our strength to help where others may have weakness, we can make that goal together. Like the spokes in a wheel, it takes strength from each and every spoke to make the wheel work properly and not bend.
We need to take the time this year to use our strength to help this congregation. To build up and edify one another. To teach if that's your strength. Learn new strengths by trying to do more and overcome the fear of trying. Help wherever you can, with the building, with outreach, with visitation or sending cards. Calling those whom have been missing service. If you take out a spoke, the wheel loses strength. Just by being here, you can build us up. Be strong and true like a spoke in a wheel and stay on the straight and narrow path. Don't let the spokes get weak and make the wheel bend side to side.
We are a family of God, let us help one another. May we always put others first, and seek out the lost to add to the family. Help where others are weak, fill in where there is a need. Love one another with the love of Christ as a family of Christian people should.
Hebrews 10:24-25 "and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near."
2 Timothy 2:15 "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth."
May we all be as a good workman, having loving compassion for one another, helping all of us to be strong and strengthen the entire congregation like each spoke in a wheel strengthens the wheel. Do all things for Christ, to build up His church.
In Him, Chuck Saarloos
It’s hard to believe 2018 is nearing an end and 2019 is just around the corner. At this time of the year we often hear the song “Auld Lang Syne” being sung. After all these years of hearing that song, I finally decided to look up the meaning of that phrase the other day. I found out it is the title of a poem written by the famous Scot poet Robert Burns in 1788. The phrase “auld lang syne” actually means “old long since” but basically means “days gone by”. There is some benefit in remembering events from our past, the good and the bad. We should remember the negative things we’ve done and plan to never repeat them. The good that we have done should be continued and improved upon if possible. However, we should never let our sins and shortcomings cause us to freeze for fear of failure, nor should we never move forward and “rest on our laurels” for the good we’ve done.
The apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14: “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” The Apostle had sins from his past for which he was very ashamed, but he also made great accomplishments for the Lord. But, he was forgetting all those things and each day reaching out to do the will of God. What a great example for us and we begin to think about a new year.
Let’s reflect on a few things we might consider as we start this new season of our lives.
*I want to be a more diligent Bible student. 2 Timothy 2:15 – “Study to show yourself approved unto God.”
*I want to improve my prayer life. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 - “Pray without ceasing.”
*I want to be a more liberal giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 – “God loves a cheerful giver.”
*I want to be a teacher of the gospel. Mark 16:15 – “Preach the gospel to all creation.”
*I want to rid myself of addictions. 1 Corinthians 6:19 – “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.”
*I want to be more faithful in my church attendance. – Hebrews 10:25 – “Nor forsaking our own assembling together.”
*I want to be totally committed to being an obedient child of God in all aspects of my life.
Let’s dedicate ourselves to being the best we can be in this new year and encouraging those around us to do the same. My prayer is that God will bless each of us this year as we strive to do his will more perfectly. Happy New Year.
13397 West Ripon Road, Ripon CA 95366