Wise Worship

This Christmas, I’m focusing on Wise Worship. I’ve been studying the Wise Men in Matthew 2 and looking at an interesting possibility regarding their origin. About 600 years before Christ’s birth, Daniel saves the lives of hundreds of Wise Men in Babylon (Daniel 2). In fact, in Daniel 5:11, the Bible says that he became their leader. Daniel’s message revolves around a coming Messiah or “Anointed One” (Daniel 2:44,45; 9:24-27). And Daniel is visited by none other than the angel Gabriel who prophesied the birth of Jesus to Mary (Daniel 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26-38).

Could it be that for 30 generations, the message of Daniel was passed down through the ranks of the Wise Men of Babylon? Were the Wise Men who visited Jesus in Bethlehem the great, great, great, great (You get the idea) grandchildren of Daniel’s Wise Men?

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him.” Mt. 2:11

Here’s an amazing definition of worship from William Temple (1881-1944). He served as the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1942 to his death in 1944. He gave Europe a visionary and prophetic plan for a post-war society in his book “Christianity and Social Order.” And he was one of the founders of the Council of Christians and Jews in 1942.

“Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. Worship is:

  • To quicken the conscience by the holiness of God
  • To feed the mind with the truth of God
  • To purge the imagination by the beauty of God
  • To open the heart to the love of God
  • To devote the will to the purposes of God

All of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.”

What are you seeking this Christmas? Where are you looking this Christmas? What are you giving this Christmas?

The first and best gift of all is your Wise Worship.

 

Merry Christmas,

Rich and Tania

 

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You Can Support Two Malachi Network Families On the Ground In Puerto Rico

Here is the latest report from CNN News on the devastation in Puerto Rico:

“Ten days after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm, the island is dealing with a humanitarian crisis as millions remain without electricity and water, and limited access to gas and cash. At least 16 people have died in the US commonwealth as a result of the storm.”

The Malachi Network has two of our most precious resources on the ground on this island: The Steinhauer family and the Bruno family. They are highly gifted in ministry and uniquely prepared to meet the needs that now surround them. The Bruno’s have served previously in some of the hardest places in the Middle East. And the Steinhauer’s have been trained in crisis response and have already been through ministry with similar devastation in Haiti.

YOU CAN SUPPORT BOTH OF THESE FAMILIES THROUGH THE MALACHI NETWORK AS THEY JOIN WITH OTHERS IN SERVING PUERTO RICO’S RECOVERY.

Just click on their pictures below to give online through the Malachi Network website:

The Steinhauer Family

The Bruno Family

If you would like to give through regular mail, you can send a check with a note designating who your gift is for to: The Malachi Network – PO Box 368 – Avalon, NJ 08202.

Thank you so much for your part in seeing God’s glory come in the midst of chaos and loss.

 

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Avalon Beach Church This Week: A Demonstration of the Spirit’s Power

This week at ABC, I get to tell one of my favorite Bible stories…

Ok, it’s not a real Bible story. In fact, I don’t know for sure if I am even right about it. But I believe something BIG happened in Paul’s life while he was traveling from Athens to Corinth. I just can’t wait to tell you about it.

In this “Summer of 3:16” we have been looking at verses in the Bible that are found in the 3rd chapter the 16th verse. This week we will look at 1 Corinthians 3:16: “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”

Just like Paul’s commitment that he made to the Corinthian church, we are going to believe this week for “a demonstration of the Spirit’s power!” So come ready for a move of God in your life.

Join us on the 30th Street beach at 9am in Avalon. Bring your beach chair, some Wawa coffee and a carload of family and friends.

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The Countdown to Our 4th Season of ABC Has Begun!

I’ve already packed the car. . .I just can’t wait for the first worship service of our 4th season at Avalon Beach Church!

Tania and I would love to have you join us June 4th at 9am on the 30th Street Beach in Avalon, NJ. It looks like its going to be partly sunny and about 65 degrees, so bring your beach chair, a warm cup of coffee and maybe a jacket.

I can’t wait to share with you what I believe Jesus wants to do in our services this summer. Please pray with me that we will see a move of God where many come to faith in Christ, are healed of sicknesses or sadness and filled with the power of the Holy.

The COUNTDOWN has begun! As I write this, it’s less than 24 hours. Hope to see you on the beach.

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“You Ask Me How I Know He Lives. . .”

On this Easter Sunday morning, we will sing the “When I Survey/Oh the Wonderful Cross” medley, “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” and close our worship with “He Lives.” My message is on those last, strong words of conviction written by Alfred Henry Ackley in 1933:

“You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!”

That strong testimony made me think about the best-selling book by Lee Strobel that has been made into a movie in theaters right now: “The Case for Christ.” Let me give you some background on this true story. Lee Strobel is a graduate from Yale Law School. He was an investigative reporter that eventually became the Legal Affairs Editor for the Chicago Tribune. And Lee was a thoughtful atheist.

“As far as I was concerned, the case was closed. There was enough proof for me to rest easy with the conclusion that the divinity of Jesus was nothing more than the fanciful invention of superstitious people. Or so I thought,” Lee wrote.

Strobel determined that if there was no God, no heaven or hell, no judgment or accountability, then there was no reason not to live as a hedonist, looking for the next and best high possible. He had awards all through his office, but laid in an alley on a Saturday night in a drunken stupor. When he would come home at night, his little daughter would just gather her toys and go to her room. It was safer and more quiet there.

Then something happened that changed his life forever and propelled him into a two year investigation that became his most significant story ever. . .his wife encountered Jesus and invited him into her heart.

Strobel’s book, and the movie that followed, details the long and in depth process of investigation Lee began. His initial aim was to disprove the divinity of Jesus and hopefully get his wife back. He looked at the eyewitness accounts in the Gospels, the evidence outside of the Bible and in archeology, and then he focused on the resurrection. He interviewed people like: Ben Witherington, Gary Collins and D.A. Carson (all highly respected scholars). He focused on these questions: “Did Jesus think He was God?” “Was He Mentally Ill?” “Did He act like God?” and “Did He fit the Description of the Messiah in the Old Testament?”

At the end of his two year pursuit, Strobel gave in and encountered Christ for himself. He made the case and responded to the evidence. As I dove into this story for myself, I was taken by the most compelling evidence that served as the deepest catalyst in Lee Strobel’s investigation. It wasn’t the mountain of documentation from experts in the fields of theology and archeology; it was the impact Christ had in the heart and life of his wife.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

Alfred Henry Ackley was so very right. . . “Ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!” The most compelling evidence in the pursuit of God is still a personal encounter with the Risen Christ. On this Easter Sunday, you can encounter the living Jesus too.

Take a look at these clips on YouTube of “The Case for Christ:”

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