Celebrating God’s Faithfulness!

Do you know what the most often repeated event is in the Old Testament? It’s so important that an entire book is named after it…Exodus! The exodus of God’s people from bondage and slavery is the “big story” of the Old Testament. Just after the people left Egypt, God instructed Moses to make sure the people never forgot this amazing event. “Then Moses said to the people, ‘Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the Lord brought you out of it with a mighty hand…’” (Exodus 13:3). So, every year the Israelites were to celebrate the Passover and thank God for their salvation and freedom. From this Scripture, I understand that God wants us to go out of our way to remember and celebrate His power and faithfulness. Now, let’s consider something closer to home. Ten years ago, Pastor Wegner and the family of Highway Tabernacle decided to adopt Resurrection Life Church (RLC). God gave the dream, the vision was cast, and the work began! From out of the ashes, God raised up a church. People from all over answered the call to donate funds, labor, and materials. Today, RLC is a light and ministry center for the Tioga neighborhood. Through the church, Spring Garden Academy, and the pre-school program, dozens of families are blessed every day! The reason we gather together on the tenth anniversary of RLC is similar to why the Israelites gathered for the Passover…to commemorate God’s goodness! It is vital for our spiritual health never to forget both God’s power and the sacrifice of God’s people. Our anniversary celebration, however, is not just to thank God for the past, but also to pray for God’s blessing and increase for the future. I would like to give special thanks to Pastor Otto and Pat Wegner and the people of Highway for their vision and faithfulness, and for Pastor Finney and Liza Kuruvilla, their sons, and the people of RLC for their diligence and perseverance. May the Lord surround the people of Resurrection Life with grace and favor. We will not forget what the Lord has done!

Pastor Mark Boucher

Bigger Than Failure

Here’s a quiz question: “In order for God to work through your life, you have to be flawless. True or false?” I’m glad the answer is false! God doesn’t call people to serve Him because they are perfect; and the Bible never tries to “sanitize” people’s stories. From the Scriptures we get to see the reality of God’s people, with all their strengths and failures…their mixture of dirt and divinity. Take Abraham as an example. He trusted God. When God said “go,” he obeyed. He believed God could give him a child—even though he was 100 years old! Even with such great faith, Abraham’s fear also showed itself. His wife Sarah was good looking, and Abraham worked out a “deal of deception.” Wherever they would travel, Sarah was to lie and say Abraham was her brother and not her husband. Abraham feared that one of the local leaders might notice Sarah, take her for his wife, and kill Abraham. Well, their little disguise did not serve them well. In Genesis 20 we see Abraham and his family traveling south and coming to Gerar, governed by King Abimelech. Sure enough, Abimelech took Sarah as his wife. But God spoke to him in a dream saying, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife” (Genesis 20:3). Greatly alarmed, the king confronted Abraham about his lie and immediately released Sarah back to him. This was a great embarrassment for both Abraham and Sarah, not to mention, a terrible witness of Abraham’s faith. From this story, I realize something extremely important. God’s plan is bigger than my failures. His sovereign will can be accomplished through us in spite of the struggle we all have with perfect obedience. Abraham and Sarah will always be remembered and commended for their faith—not for their occasional lapses into fear. Be encouraged by the message of the Bible. You don’t need to “bat a thousand” to be in the game. God shows His power by using ordinary people, who sometimes strike out or drop the ball. The best we can do is learn from our past sins and mistakes, ask God’s forgiveness…and believe He can still use frail humans to accomplish His will. And remember, only One lived a perfect life, and we worship Him as Lord and Savior!

Pastor Mark Boucher

When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

He not only had a difficult name, but Habakkuk also lived in difficult times. Habakkuk was a prophet of God during a time when godly prophets were barely tolerated and often persecuted. Years of rebellion toward God had taken their toll on the nation of Israel. The people hardened their hearts. Sin and violence grew like an infectious mold. As a prophet called by God to speak to his generation, Habakkuk didn’t know quite what to think, let alone what to do. So, he poured out his heart to God by way of “complaints.” The first complaint went like this: “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save? …Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds” (Hab. 1:2-3). God gave Habakkuk an answer to his complaint, but it didn’t comfort him. Because of Israel’s sin, God was raising up the ruthless Babylonians to attack and defeat the Israelites. In dismay Habakkuk poured out another complaint: “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?” (Hab. 1:13). Habakkuk was confused because God didn’t seem to make sense. It’s not hard to compare the times we live in right now to the chaos of Habakkuk’s day. As Christians, we also wonder, where is God in all this? Why does evil grow and godliness seem to decline? Keep reading Habakkuk. In spite of not understanding the world, or even the ways of God, he determined to stay faithful. He declared, “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint” (Hab. 2:1). As a “soldier” of the Lord, Habakkuk determined to wait on God…while others slept. He would keep his eyes open and learn to watch and wait on God. Habakkuk knew that only God would one day, and in His own way, make right all that is wrong. The message from Habakkuk is clear: trust in God and wait on Him in prayer even when life makes no sense. You’ll be glad you did!

Pastor Mark Boucher

The Heart of the Matter!

When I woke up this morning, this verse popped into my mind: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). The sad truth is that you can be religious…yet have a heart far from God. In Matthew 15, we discover Jesus being confronted by some Pharisees and teachers of the Law of God. They were offended because Jesus didn’t follow their rules. He allowed His disciples to eat without first going through certain ceremonial cleansing rituals. The Pharisees judged Jesus and the disciples as “unclean” due to their carelessness. Jesus turned the tables on them and used this incident to teach about “the heart of the matter.” He said to the crowd, “Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean’, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean’” (Matthew 15:10b-11). He later explained, “…the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’” (v. 18). Jesus teaches us something extremely important here: “God is more concerned with what goes on in your heart than in outward appearances and ceremonies.” The Pharisees obsessed over “looking right” in the eyes of others. They prided themselves on their meticulous details of religious observation…but they missed the main thing! Their hearts were not right with God. While doing the outward actions of “piety,” they neglected the evil stuff going on in their hearts. That’s why Jesus challenged them, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men” (vv. 8-9). Let’s recognize the danger in ourselves. It’s easy to condemn the Pharisees of old and criticize them for their blindness. However, this very action of condemnation of others can expose our own hypocrisy. How often do we excuse the evil thoughts that go on in our hearts? How easily do we justify the ungodly images and words that flood our hearts? How carelessly do we allow words to flow from our hearts that hurt, discourage, and belittle others? The only way to “guard our hearts” is to take full responsibility to present our hearts continually to the Lord. No one can do this for us. What we allow to go on in our hearts determines our nearness or distance from God. Thank God for the grace of Jesus! Let’s cooperate with His grace by guarding our hearts!

Pastor Mark Boucher