Pastor Jim's Blog
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May 18, 2017 - Ascension Day
May 25, 2017 is Ascension Day. According to two sources I know, Ascension Day is the most neglected day of the church year. We celebrate Advent and Christmas. We celebrate Lent, Good Friday, and Easter. We celebrate Pentecost. But not Ascension Day. And it is perhaps the most important day of all.
Many might ask “What is Ascension Day?”On the fortieth day after Christ rose from the dead, He went up (i.e. “ascended”) to Heaven. That is, He went back to where he began His journey 33 years prior.
Why should w celebrate Ascension Day? It is not just the day Jesus “went back to Heaven”; it is the day He took His throne. It is the day the crown was put on His head. It is the day the scepter was put into His hand. It is the day He was coronated “ King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. It is the day Jesus Christ resumed His rule of the entire universe.
Jesus Christ has been exalted to the highest place of honor above everyone and everything. He is running everything! He is in charge of everything! Jesus Christ is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of the entire universe.
As such, Jesus Christ is to be worshipped, honored, and obeyed. Everybody answers to Him whether they acknowledge it or not. We all owe everything to Him.
So on May 25, let us all bow down and honor the King!
4/15/2017 ~ Holy Saturday
It is the day after Good Friday, and the day before Easter (Resurrection Day). What do you do on that day? Yesterday and Maundy Thursday we pondered the suffering and death of Jesus. Tomorrow we will celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. But what about Holy Saturday?
This is the day Jesus lay dead in the tomb. His body had been hurriedly put in the tomb because it was evening of the Day of Preparation for the Sabbath and the Passover. All the Jews and the disciples were staying at home quietly waiting for the Passover.
But what kind of Passover would it be for the followers of Jesus? The day before they had seen Him crucified and die a horrible death. I’m sure they had been traumatized and vivid pictures of that awful day haunted their minds and hearts. But they were also dejected, despondent, despairing, and just sad, mourning the loss of not only their best friend, but of the One they had come to believe was the Messiah, the Savior of the world, God in human flesh. All that they had believed about Him, and what he had said about not only Himself, but about His Kingdom, was now seemingly over for good. Now what?
What did they have to celebrate?
Little did they know what God had in store for them in just a few hours! Their sorrow would be turned to absolute JOY! They would soon be dancing and singing! They would see Him again, and not just the Jesus they had known, but the Risen and Glorified Lord Jesus Christ.
This is why on this Saturday, many churches celebrate what is known as The Easter Vigil. It is a special pre-Easter evening service that anticipates the Resurrection the next morning. It is filled with hope and joy. It culminates with the lighting of the Paschal Candle, which symbolizes Christ. It is placed on the Gospel side of the altar, and is kept burning all through the 40 days of the Easter season until Ascension Day. “Paschal” has to do with Passover , and has been brought into the Christian faith through the Resurrection of Jesus.
So , on this Saturday, we don’t just wait; we anticipate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ with JOY!
Tomorrow we celebrate!
5/4/2014 ~ "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" ~John 11:24-25
On Saturday, April 26, Jack Wheeler, Sr. died. I am sad, but I am rejoicing that Dad is in Heaven with Jesus.
After I got saved in 1973, I began to proclaim Christ to my family. Dad tolerated it , but was never all that receptive. For 40 years he resisted me.
As Dad got older, in his late 80’s, early 90’s, I began to plead with the Lord to save him. I said, “Lord, it’s getting pretty late! He’s getting close to the edge! When are You going to save him? You’re the God of our salvation; that’s your job! Only You can!”
I have been Dad’s main support for the last 6 years since his wife Jean died. I have had Power of Attorney and have handled all his finances, bills, and banking. My sister and I have called him every day to make sure he was OK. I made frequent visits to Fairfield/Bridgeport.
In Dec 2011 Dad had a major fall in his house, and ended up in the hospital, and then rehab. I took him to many doctors, and finally he had his hip replaced in May, 2012. More hospitalization, and more rehab. We sold his house in Fairfield, in the summer of 2012, and we moved him into an apt in Bridgeport.
More falls followed; more hospital/rehab. Dad was growing weaker with each episode. To compound these problems, he had a swallowing issue, couldn’t eat much, and gradually lost quite a bit of weight and strength.
November 2013 Dad was no longer able to care for himself, and went into the hospital/rehab for the last time.
December 2013 Dad was released to his home and I had to line up 24/7 care for him. 3 home health aides: Elizabeth, Agnes, Carleen. Dad had come home to die. He never left his bed for 4 months.
I discovered that aide Elizabeth was a Jesus-loving Pentecostal! I gave her permission to preach Jesus to Dad, and she did! She filled that apt with praise, prayer, and the Presence of Jesus. She went around the apt praying in her prayer language ,doing spiritual warfare. Dad was in a “spiritual womb” being incubated into the Kingdom of God!
One day the Lord said to her “ Go in and talk to him about Me.” She asked Dad all the right questions: “Do you believe in Jesus that He is the Son of God? That He died for your sins? Do you repent of your sins and confess Him as your Savior and Lord?” She led Dad in prayer to receive Christ. Over the next few weeks she went over it all again & again to reaffirm Dad’s commitment to Christ. Dad became a Child of God at 91 ½! At the “11th hour”! Maybe 11:45! (Mark Kopchak’s calculations.)
About a week before Easter Dad took a turn downward.
Sun, 4/20, Easter I was full of joy! I was especially happy that Dad hadn’t died while I was in the midst of Easter services
Mon, 4/21 The day after Easter we give the staff off. I received a call from the aide that Dad was unresponsive. I called my sister Liz to take a train up from NYC, and I rushed down to Bridgeport, and we spent some time with Dad.
Tues, 4/22 I was in my office and playing a CD about the Resurrection. Dad was still alive. The joy of the Resurrection was flooding my heart, especially because Dad was “in Christ”. I sat down and wrote some reflections, “ Today Dad is suspended somewhere between this life and the next. He can go at any moment… I am so very grateful that at the “11th Hour” you brought Dad into Your Kingdom through Elizabeth… and now in this Easter/Resurrection season, when Dad passes, he will live! Thank You Father for saving Dad!”
Wed, 4/23 Jack, Jr arrived from Florida; all 3 of us saw Dad
Thur, 4/24 Jack is staying with me and Judy, and he came to class with me and loved it!
Fri, 4/25 Jack and I saw Dad for the last time, and then I put Jack on the train to go back
Sat, 4/26 Dad died at 10:00AM; I went down to the apt and saw him for the last time as they took him away
REFLECTIONS ( on the day of Dad’s death)
How beautiful that Dad died the week after Easter
John 11:24-25 Jesus said to Martha just before He raised her dead brother Lazarus “ I am the Resurrection and the Life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
He’s not only saved. He not only confessed Jesus as Savior.
Dad lives! Dad is with Jesus now.
When our living Lord Jesus Christ comes back, Dad will get a new body
1 Thess 4; 1 Cor 15
I will see him again, and spend eternity with him!
I am sad, but I am full of joy at the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dad lives! He’s a brand new Child of God at 91 ½!
6/4/2013 ~ "Awakening"
Ever since I came back to Connecticut and Canton nearly 30 years ago, I have had a passion for “revival”. I sensed, as so many others do, the dark spiritual atmosphere in New England. It is extremely difficult here in this region to make spiritual progress because the spiritual climate is so resistant to the Light of Christ. It is almost like a thick shroud covers this region choking out the life of the Spirit. Those without Christ do not see the need to change and embrace Him. Proclaiming His Name and His Good News seems to fall on deaf ears.
Even the Church of Jesus Christ seems flat. So many churches seem devoid of spiritual life. They are not vibrantly alive with the Holy Spirit, and Christ’s life does not seem to be flowing through them. It seems like “business as usual”. Every church doing their own “church thing”.
Has the Bride of Christ lost her passion?
Is there a passion for the lost?Is there a passion for the unity of the Bride of Christ?
Is there a passion for Christ and His Kingdom?It seems to me as if the Bride of Christ is asleep and needs to be awakened!
The elders of our church have been so concerned about the condition of the Church of Jesus, that on retreat in November of 2012, we sensed God leading us to host a conference on awakening. The Lord has given us a steering committee comprised of two other like-minded pastors who also want to see another awakening.
Two Awakenings have already occurred in our region:
- The Great Awakening of the 1730’s-1740’s which began in Northhampton, Mass, and also broke out in Enfield, CT
- The Second Great Awakening which began in this town of Canton, October 15, 1798 under the ministry of Rev. Jeremiah Hallock
We believe God’s movement in the PAST gives hope that the Church’s passion can be rekindled NOW.
“REKINDLING THE PASSION FOR AWAKENING IN WESTERN NEW ENGLAND”