Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Does Jesus Christ Have Your Attention?

Many will remember the conversion account of the church-hating, Christ-persecuting man named Saul that's recorded in the N.T. book of Acts, chapter 9.

Saul was on his way to persecute Christians residing in Damascus. As he traveled, a light from heaven flashed around him and he fell to the ground. Saul heard a voice, that of Jesus, that said, among other things, "it's hard for you to kick against the pricks." Now what could this possibly mean?

This was an agricultural term. During this time, farmers would take a long, slender piece of timber and place a sharp prick on the end. This was called a goad. It was then used to urge a stubborn ox in a particular direction. Now if the ox didn't want to go in that direction, he would kick against the prick. Man, that had to be painful.

Jesus was saying, "Saul, I've been goading you for sometime now because you're going in the wrong direction. Aren't you finding it painful to stubbornly resist me?"

You see, Jesus (the Way) lovingly and graciously seeks to get our attention in order to get us headed in the right direction for life. So he gets our attention.

Author Max Lucado, in his book Traveling Light ponders, I wonder if loneliness is God's way of getting our attention."

He writes: "Suppose you borrow a friend's car. His radio doesn't work, but his CD player does. You rummage through his collection, looking for your style of music - let's say, country-western. But you find nothing. He has nothing but his style of music - let's say - classical."

"It's a long trip, and you can talk to yourself for only so long. So eventually you reach for a CD. You'd prefer some steel guitar, but you're stuck with soaring tenors. Initially it's intolerable. But eventually it's enjoyable. Your heart picks up the pattern of the kettledrums, your head rolls with the cellos."

"Now let me ask you - would you have made this discovery on your own? No! What led you to it? What caused you to hear the music you'd never heard before? Simple. You had no other choice, no other option. You had nowhere else to go. Finally, when the silence was too loud, you took a chance on a song you'd never heard."

O how God wants you to hear his music. He has a ryhtymn that will race your heart and lyrics that will stir you to tears....his music can sooth your soul. But first he has to get rid of that country-western stuff (Forgive me Nashville. Only an example.)"

What might Christ be doing in your life right now to get your attention in order to pour out His aggressive grace on you?

Pastor Van Morris

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Won By The Creator

I was recently interviewed for a documentary on the subject of creation/evolution. A crew flew from California, came to our home, and interviewed my wife and I for nearly 3-hours, allowing us to freely share our faith.

In preparation for the interview something dawned on me. Though this was indeed an important issue, there was something far more important. Let me explain.

The majority of Americans hold to a belief in creation. According to a recent USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, two-thirds said creationism, the idea that God created humans in their present form within the past 10,000 years, is definitely or probably true.

Now I certainly can't account for how these individuals came to embrace creationism, but I can tell you how I did. First, but not the most important reason, I came to understand that the principles of evolution are built upon a theodicy - an attempt to reconcile the goodness and justice of God with the existence of evil in the world.

For Charles Darwin, the question was: How could divine creation be reconciled with evil that is in nature? In other words, Darwin was not motivated toward evolution by direct scientific evidence, but by his perceived problems with divine creation - God wouldn't do it this way, so here's what I think happened. (An excellent resource for further research is Darwin's God by Cornelius Hunter.

Still, my most important reason for embracing creationism is because the Creator won my heart. You see, when I was convicted of my sin my initial question was not Gee, I wonder whose got it right, creationists or evolutionists. Goodness no! That would be like fighting for a window seat aboard the Hindenburg. Instead, my concern was In my sinful, condemned state, is there any hope for me? And the gospel of Jesus Christ said "Yes"- and He won my heart. Once I was won by such a Savior it wasn't difficult for me to believe that by Him, through Him, all things were created in heaven and in earth.

This brings me back to the important issue - Isn't it possible for a person to say they believe in creationism, but still not know the Creator in a saving way? You see, merely believing creationism as opposed to evolution does not save. According to the Scriptures, a person is saved by believing in Jesus Christ.

Where a person stands on this issue will not impress God, especially if one has failed to receive God's Son, who died in our place for our salvation. Besides, once a person experiences the amazing, costly love of God in Christ, your heart will be won. Then you'll have a new set of eyes in which to see God's creation.

Pastor Van Morris

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Twenty-three year-old Cho Seung-Hui perpetrated the largest campus killing spree in U.S. history, leaving 33 people dead, including himself. Not only has the killer cut a gaping hole in the heart of the victims families, his actions provoke an avalanche of questions that begin with why: Why would anyone do such a thing? Why do terrible things happen? Why would a loving God allow such a thing? It's the latter question that I've been hearing most often.

It's interesting that God has been brought into the equation. The same God who gets thanked at country music award shows suddenly gets called on the carpet when horrible events happen. This is the same God of whom 96% of Americans profess to believe in, yet they carry on as usual, with His existence impinging very little, if any, on their own. And there are consequences for this.

When we as created beings, fail to give glory to our Creator and we pursue other, lesser gods - which is the essence of sin - resulting in a vacuum of hopelessness, emptiness and despair within us. Since a relationship with our Creator is the only thing that is calculated to satisfy us, we are left dissatisfied, unbridled, and at war within ourselves.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. (James 4:1-2 ;ESV)

After reading that verse I find it interesting that Cho left writings behind "raging against the rich kids" - hence, "you desire and do not have, so you murder."

I have concluded that it is difficult to live in a fallen world as a fallen man. My confidence is this, however, that though I am a sinner, and therefore part of the problem, Jesus Christ died to redeem sinners like me. And though the wages of our sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus. Everything would be supremely hopeless without this assurance.

Pastor Van Morris

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Looking For Something More and Missing Much More

One of my favorite country songs is recorded by Sarah Evans, a song entitled I Keep Looking. I like it because it so accurately describes human discontentment. The chorus goes as follows:

I keep looking, I keep looking forI keep looking for something more.
I always wonder what's on the other sideOf the number two door.
I keep looking, looking for something more.

Why do so many live reckless lives in the danger zone? Why are so many lives wasted due to alcohol, drugs, and foolishness? Isn't it the insane pursuit for something more - more thrills, more happiness, more peace? Now we're certainly all for thrills, happiness and peace, but what if there is something more than even this!

The Bible says that there is much more:

For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ. (Rom 5:17)

We look for something more because we're incomplete. What a tragedy to spend our whole life searching for something more and overlook the much more of Jesus Christ.

Pastor Van Morris

Thursday, February 1, 2007

A Get-Rich-Quick Scheme I Recommend

The love of riches is gaining in respectability among young Americans. A recent poll, conducted by Pew Research Center, asked 18-to 25-year-olds to rate their generations most important goals in life. Eighty-one percent said "to get rich" and fifty-one percent said "to be famous" were important to people their age.

But shouldn't one ask: What does it mean to be truly rich? Is it having the hottest car? Is it having the latest that technology has to offer? Or is there more? Is there another kind of rich that the world cannot offer?

God's word says this: "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich." (2 Cor. 8:9). Aha! There is another kind of rich, and it's a kind of rich that one can experience uniquely through Jesus Christ. But what kind of riches does this speak of? The very best riches.

The Bible says: "For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ." (2 Cor 5:21). The Bible is speaking of the riches of forgiveness, of acceptance, of right-standing with God - these are the greatest riches of all.

Jesus spoke of a man who found a treasure hid in a field, and with joy he went and sold all he had and bought the field. Have you found this treasure yet? Have you found these riches that are beyond compare and that fill you with true joy? Two thinGS: (1) The riches of which I speak come through saving faith in Jesus Christ. (2) Why settle for the second-rate, fading riches of this world?

Pastor Van Morris

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Do We Need A Fresh View of God?

In the early 1800's leading up to The War of 1812, the British had their eye upon the Mississippi River. Whoever controlled this great body of water would have crucial access to the interior of the United States.

Therefore, the War Department sent marching orders to the Tennessee militia, led by Andrew Jackson, to descend the Cumberland and the Mississippi to New Orleans to defend against a seaborne British assault.

But could a rag-tag militia ever be inspired to defend a river? The answer was, yes, once they had a view of it.

Jackson and his men piled into thirty boats and headed down the Cumberland River. After a brief delay where the Cumberland and the Ohio met, the chronicler of the voyage got a thrill at the Mississippi.

"Who can withhold his emotions while viewing the beauties of this august river, this Father of Waters?, he wrote. "It is the grand reservoir of the streamlets from a thousand hills...The production of every climate are destined to float on its bosom."

In his book Andrew Jackson : His Life and Times, H. W. Brands commented, "To see the great river was to know why it must be defended, why it must remain American."

In troubled times, Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1) was granted a fresh view of God, seated high upon a throne. Isaiah could not withhold his emotions as he faced with the beauty of God's holiness. This fresh view of God inspired Isaiah to confess his sin and his unholiness, and ultimately offer himself in service to God by saying, "Here I am, send me."

Yes, we do need a fresh view of God. And may He graciously grant us this.

Pastor Van

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Proper Christian Motivation

As I begin a new year, I am asking myself : What is it that will keep me going this year? For example: What will keep me faithfully on task when I am being severely criticized and unappreciated? What will prompt me to sacrifice when it seems that no one else is sacrificing? What will keep me giving to help the needy and not become cynical? What will cause me to give of myself when I am sorely tempted to look for ways to maximize my own pleasures? In other words: What will be my motivation this year?

Motive is that which prompts an individual to act. For the Christian, there is a dominant, recurring theme in God's redemptive plan which prompts them to act. A good example of this motif is found in the following statement:

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2 Cor. 8:9 ; (ESV)

"Grace" includes the message of Jesus' death and resurrection, His atoning work, peace with God, remission of sin, and the Lord's abiding presence. The grace of Jesus was demonstrated in His becoming poor for our sakes. Never in the entire history of the universe did anyone abandon so much in order to become so poor for so many.

The grace of the Lord Jesus is the dominant, recurring theme in God's redemptive plan. And for those who have truly received such grace through faith in Christ, this grace begets grace. Simply put, we are to be an instrument through which God's grace reaches others. We do this while remaining faithful, by sacrificing, by giving, by serving.

At C.C.C. we have adopted the above verse as our theme for 2007. This will be where we realign ourselves with a proper Christian motive in order to engage ourselves in the great cause we have been called to.

Do you want to be a part of a great cause? Them come and join us.

Pastor Van Morris