Why Did You Go To Church?

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Francois Fenelon was known as the pastor to the court of King Louis XIV of France in the 17th century. One Sunday when the king and his attendants arrived at the chapel for the regular service, no one else was there but the pastor. King Louis demanded, “What does this mean?” Fenelon replied, “I had published that you would not come to church today, in order that your Majesty might see who serves God in truth and who flatters the king.” We know that God sees the very thought and intents of our hearts. God simply desires us to love and serve Him out of a pure heart. As we all know, alterior motives often get in the way. Why did you go to church today? – Pastor Brad Brandon

1 Corinthians 5:8 “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

What Is A Finer

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The process of refining silver is one that takes Heat, Time, and careful skill. It is not a process that can be done recklessly or with any carelessness. The melting point for silver is nearly 1800 degrees. But it takes more than heat to extract the impurities from this precious metal. The right amount of elements and chemicals must be added. They must be added in exact measure, to separate the dross and produce silver in its purest form. Using heat alone to melt silver will fail to remove all impurities and leave the it burned and damaged. I use to understand the word “finer” as meaning “better.” I thought this passage was saying, God will remove the dross from our lives and we will come forth a better vessel. Until one day I looked up the definition of the word “finer.” I found the “finer” is defined as, “the person doing the refining.” This changed my understanding and my life. The passage is not simply saying God wants to remove our impurities. It’s saying that God’s ultimate goal is to make us a vessel “for the finer.” A vessel fit for His use. God is careful not to burn or damage us in this process. He uses the exact amount of all that we need. He knows exactly what we need. With his careful skill he will make us into what is pleasing to him. – Pastor Brad Brandon

Proverbs 25:4 “Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.”

Give All You Have

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One of the little known stories of our country’s fight for independence, is that of Governor Thomas Nelson of Virginia. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and placed in command of the Virginia Military Forces. During the Battle of Yorktown, the British commandeered Governor Nelson’s palatial home, to be used as the British military headquarters. As the battle raged on, the American cannon gunners were not firing on Nelson’s estate. In a rage he demanded, “Why do you spare my home?” His troops responded, “Out of respect to you, sir.” Nelson cried, “fire on that building, at once, or give me the cannon and I will do it myself.” By the end of the battle his home lay in a pile smoldering ashes. But Thomas Nelson’s sacrifice was not over. He raised over $2 million for the Revolutionary cause, mostly from pledging his own estate. He died in poverty several years after the war. What if every Christian had the heart of Thomas Nelson? He truly had the same heart for his country that the Apostle Paul had for the Lord. Every follower of Christ should be willing to consider their earthly possessions as worthless, for the cause of Christ. Today, will you pledge your lives, your fortunes, and your sacred honor, for the cause of Christ? Remember, He laid it all down for you. – Pastor Brad Brandon Philippians 3:8 “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,”

Lessons From Eagles

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Eagles are one of the most amazing predatory birds known to man. They have reportedly been seen by hang gliders, in AZ, flying at nearly 20,000 ft. In the air, they also can easily reach speeds in excess of 75mph. But what’s even more amazing is the way they respond to the environment around them. Eagles are not afraid of storms. In fact, when storms are approaching eagles get excited. They love to play in the updrafts and use the storm to push them to higher altitudes. When they reach these high altitudes, they will begin to fly, in the calm air, high above the storm. No other bird can fly at the altitude that an eagle can. Because of this, the only other birds that they fly with are other eagles. Their eyesight is so stunningly accurate that they can spot prey from over 3 miles away. When they have sighted their prey, they won’t take their eyes off of it until they have reached their target. With that said, there are some simple lessons we learn from these amazing animals. First, use the storms of life to push you higher. Second, if you look around and see pigeons, you’re probably not flying to the height of your potential. Thirdly, once God gives you a target, stay on track and don’t let anything distract you. As the verse says, the strength of the eagle’s wings is given to those who patiently wait on the Lord – Pastor Brad Brandon.

Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Not Stupid Just Nearsighted

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A recent study done by the University of Cambridge has revealed that sheep are much more intelligent than scientists had previously thought. In fact, they are exponentially more intelligent than other mammals with similar brain sizes. But, what they also found is that sheep are extremely nearsighted. Their nearsightedness is so severe that they lack the ability to see more than a couple feet in front of them. Scientist believe this is why people previously thought they were simply stupid. So, it looks like we are more like sheep than we even knew. We often have a hard time seeing how our actions today affect the future and that the trials today are just God’s way preparing us for what is coming tomorrow. We lose sight of how our words and behavior hurts others. We become afraid of the unknown. It’s so easy to get focused on what’s right in front of us and forget about what is happen beyond our scope. We can sometimes forget that God sees our future with the utmost clarity. So, when we’re uncertain and we don’t know what’s ahead, just trust the voice of the shepherd. His vision is much better than ours. – Pastor Brad Brandon

John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”

His Image

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Michelangelo is one of the most celebrated sculptors in the world. In 1499 he finished a sculpture, which is considered to be his magnum opus. He called it “Pieta”, which is the Italian word for affection. It is a sculpted likeness of Christ’s lifeless body, after he was taken off the cross. The details are so magnificent and life like, it attracts more than 18,000 tourists each day. When Michelangelo finished this work his apprentice was so impressed, he asked how he made a piece of stone into such a detailed likeness. Michelangelo simply told him “All I did was cut away everything that did not look like Christ.” Althought the bible does not give many details of Christ’s physical description, it is still a powerfull lesson for followers of Christ today. All we have to do, to be the image of Christ to the world, is just cut away everything in our lives that does not look like Him. Is there something in your life that doesn’t look like the Lord? Maybe it’s time to get rid of it once and for all. – Pastor Brad Brandon

Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son”

Two-Headed Monster

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Last year in Vermont, a calf was born with Polycephaly. That is a condition of having two heads. Although it was quite an anomaly and drew the attention of the media, the calf only lived for about two days. Animals born with this condition suffer from many severe complications and life expectancy is just a fraction of what it normally would be. They often suffer from severe respiratory and neurological problems, which result in a low quality of life and they quickly die. The Bible tells us that Christ is our head and that we should give him control of our lives. When we try to take control of our own lives, we undermine the authority of Christ and become a two-headed monster. Just imagine the spiritual problems and complications when there are two heads fighting for control. Anything with two heads is strange and not part of God’s original design. Is God the head of your life or are you still trying to be in charge? – Pastor Brad Brandon

Colossians 1:18 “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”