“Repent! He is Coming!” – A free MP3 sermon by Bryan Johston

JohnstonScripture Reference: Mark 1:1-8 – “How are we to be prepared for the coming of the Lord? John prepared the way for the Lord by proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Preparation for the Lord’s coming involved confessing sin, forsaking sin, and having sins forgiveness through baptism. Our relationship with the Lord is like a marriage, he is the groom and we are the bride. As the groom, Jesus sees us a holy and blameless, without stain, wrinkle, or blemish. He forsook heaven to show his love so that we could be with him. What have you given up for the Lord? What type of bride are you? How will you live in response to the coming of Lord?” This is a VERY GOOD lesson! I’m sure you will like it. – Bryan Johnston, Preaching Minister, North Bend, OR USA Church of Christ nbcoc@hotmail.com

LINKS: Short-link for sharing/listening: https://goo.gl/Y4VXC5 (case sensitive). It’s also in the “Sermon Downloads” section of our website at http://www.churchofchristnb.com. To embed it in your own website, etc here is the full file path: http://wordforlife.com/files/sermons3/johnston-12-10-17.mp3 – Any problems or comments, contact me directly: mrmagill@gmail.com

[Editors Note: The word repent means to *feel or express sincere regret or remorse about [your] wrongdoing or sin.* such as “the priest urged his listeners to repent” If you are truly regretting what you have been doing and decided to change it, you are well on your way to salvation as true repentance is a very important and necessary step on the path.

“Don’t Spill the Water” (Author unknown)

    A lady went to the Pastor of her church and said, “I won’t be attending Church anymore.” He said, “May I ask why?” She said, “I see people on their cell phones texting and typing during the service, some are gossiping, some just aren’t living right, some are sleeping, some are staring at me, they are all just hypocrites.” The Pastor was silent. Then he said, “Can I ask you to do something for me before you make your final decision?” She said, “Sure, what’s that?” He said, “Take a glass of water and walk around the church two times and don’t let any water fall out of the glass.” She said, “Yes I can do that!” She went and got the glass of water and walked around the church two times. She came back and said proudly, “It’s done.”

      The pastor asked her these questions; “Did you see anybody on their phone?; Did you see anybody gossiping?; Was anybody living wrong?; Did you see anyone sleeping?” She said, “I didn’t see anything because I was so focused on this glass, so the water wouldn’t spill out” He told her, “When you come to church , you should be just that focused on God , so that you don’t fall. That’s why Jesus said, ‘Follow Me’, He did not say follow Christians.” Don’t let your relationship with God be determined by how others relate with God. Let it be determined by how focused you are with God.

(If anyone knows the author of this pieces, please contact us so we can give proper attribution – thanks!)

“Our Greatest Resource” – by Bryan Johnston

"Our Greatest Resource" - by bryan johnston     Scripture says, “Dear friends let us love one another, for love comes from God.” (1 John 4:7) One thing I always hear about this church is that it is so friendly and welcoming. This attribute comes so naturally. Kindness and hospitality are gifts not commonly found in our world and are sadly missing in some of our churches. Love is abundantly shown through smiles, handshakes, hugs, and greetings. Your love is seen in how you listen and care for others. People feel known and valued through your love. Visitors to this church frequently say, “I have never been to a church that was so welcoming and friendly.”

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9) God’s expression of love has been witnessed through the sacrificial gift of his Son. Jesus willing obeyed God by giving his life so that others might live. As agents of love, we have the opportunity to lay down our lives and share our resource with others. Our greatest resource is our love. Since our love is from God, it never fails, it never gives up, and it never runs out. “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:11) It is not enough to just accept God’s love and keep it for ourselves. The love of God is incomplete until we share it and give it to others. “If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12)

Church, let us continue to use our gifts to love God, love others, and serve the world – starting in our community. Church let us be good listeners, good sharers of our tables, good givers of our resources, and good examples of God’s love. I love this church and I am blessed to be a part of you.

– Bryan

 

God’s Glory and Presence – by Marilee Miller

Editor’s note: This was written by my friend Marilee Miller, who passed away earlier this year:

“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. “For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” (Isaiah 60:1-2)

     What is this “glory of the Lord”? It’s the evidence of his Presence. It’s ALL of his goodness (see Exodus 33:19). It’s his weight (a root word in Hebrew) — that is, all of his weightiness, mightiness, splendor, and full personality.

     If one counts up the stories in the Bible, Jesus seems to have spent nearly eighty percent of his time here on Earth in healing those who needed help. Isaiah looks forward to an event Christians sometimes call “the Second Coming of Christ”. This passage of Scripture gives us great hope that one of the signs of God’s glory our generation will see, is healings.

     For we see how dark it’s getting in the world. But Christians with waiting hearts say the Lord’s brightness is getting stronger. (“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound…” Romans 5:20)

     Many believe our generation is living in the “last days” before Christ’s return, and that in this time, there will be a great outpouring of miracles.

     In every generation, God brings forth persons who become willing containers (vessels), emptied entirely of self, and completely filled with him. That’s why we go through the fire (trials). To be cleaned and ready for God’s glory to fall upon us. That we may walk in darkness no more! For we belong to him, who is the Light.

-Marilee

(See the entire series of mini-studies at http://wordforlife.com/kingfisher/mbibls1.html )

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“Committed Community” – A Free (MP3) sermon by Bryan Johnston

JohnstonTitle: Compelled Community – Scripture: 1 Peter 2:9-12 –  “The picture of the church is a group of disciples doing its part to edify the body and advance the kingdom.  It looks like hands and feet bringing love, unity, and hope to the world.  When each part is doing its work it is a healthy, beautiful representation of Christ to the world.  The church has always thrived in threatening times, so let us not be afraid.  Let us be compelled by the love of Christ to carry out God’s plan through his church to bring redemption and restoration to our community.  How are you compelled to show love, unity, and hope to your community?”

DOWNLOAD/LISTEN/EMBED Link: http://www.wordforlife.com/files/sermons2/johnston-10-08-17.mp3 Short Link (Case-sensitive) http://bit.ly/10-08-17

 Author: Bryan Johnston, Preaching Minister, North Bend, Oregon USA Church of Christ – nbcoc@hotmail.com

“Looking Back” – A devotional by Bryan Johnston

JohnstonWhen I was in college, I was blessed to spend one summer in Takahagi, Japan teaching English using the Bible. One day our hosting minister Sensei Yatabe, took us on a tour of Tokyo. Without any instruction or preparation, we stepped off the train in downtown Tokyo. Sensei Yatabe looked at me alone, since I was the closest person to him, and quickly said, “Follow Me.” Quickly turned back around and hurriedly started walking ahead. With only a slight hesitation and moment of concern, I glanced immediately at the team member behind me, making brief eye contact and said, “Let’s Go!” From the corner of my eye I could still see the back of Yatabe’s head and darted off.

Keeping my eyes resolutely set on his indistinct straight black hair, we were led through intersections and streets flooded with thousands of other Japanese citizens. I was fearful of losing track of my leader and at the same time fearful of losing my followers. Our Sensei never once looked back to make sure I was following, and I in turn was never able to look back at my followers. If I had gone astray, I would have gotten our whole team lost. As God was with us, I was able to catch up to our leader and avoid being lost. Only then was I able to look back to joyfully see that my three friends were right behind me. I guess it helps to have red-hair. We are all called to be disciples and disciple-makers. We are called to be followers and leaders. As a leader it is helpful to stay close, look back, and assist your followers.

When calling his followers Jesus says, “repent” and steer your life toward his kingdom. Once redirected and committed Jesus says, “Come follow me.” Later along their discipleship journey of becoming like him, he says, “Go and make disciples.” The goal is that the students will become the teachers. And like Paul, the disciple-making disciples will be able to confidently say to their followers, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Jesus is looking back at you. As you make disciples, be sure to look back at your followers.

Bryan Johnston

Preaching minister, North Bend, Oregon USA Church of Christ – nbcoc@hotmail.com / www.churchofchristnb.com

Doing Life Together – by Bryan Johnston

(Editor’s note: Life Groups, often called “Small Groups” in some congregations, are groups of believers that meet at various times  to discuss Christian life. Some follow topical studies, discuss that day’s sermon, or whatever as is their interest. They are very beneficial in growing strength in the congregation. Here is a note Bryan sent out just before ours restarted for this term, which speaks some of their value.)

Our Life Group ministry will be starting September 10! Our groups meet on Sunday evenings in homes and at the building from September thru May. It is essential to our growth and maturity that we have opportunities to share our love for God and love for one another. Life Groups provide members a setting to grow as disciples of Christ and to minister one to another. We will share in God’s word and discuss the morning sermon. We will share our lives with each other, providing opportunity to be encouraged and mentored in our walk with Christ. Life Groups provide a place for each one to use their gifts to edify and build up the body of Christ. As we are built up our love overflows into serving the world and growing the kingdom of God.

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The Light of the World – by Bryan Johnston

(Written 8/27/17 – shortly after a full solar eclipse was visible from our location)

JohnstonMillions of people traveled hundreds of miles to witness perhaps a once in a lifetime experience – the 2017 Solar Eclipse! We traveled 100 miles to Newport, Oregon to witness one of nature’s amazing sites. It took planning and forethought to position ourselves in the right place at the right time. The solar eclipse was predicted to start at 9:05 A.M., so we were in place at that time. It took the right equipment to safely view the astronomical attraction. We pre-purchased the NASA/ISO approved protective eye wear to stare observantly at the ocular occurrence. It took patience and endurance to wait for the moon to align itself perfectly in the path of the sun’s light rays to display the total solar eclipse. It took faith to trust that the weather would comply with our viewing location. The fog did give us quite the scare during the last fifteen minutes before totality. Then, at ….

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When Darkness Turns Into Light – by Bryan Johnston

JohnstonOn August 21st a total solar eclipse was visible in totality within a band across the entire contiguous United States. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the sun for a viewer on Earth. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire contiguous United States was on June 8, 1918. Among others, the towns of Newport, Salem, and Madras Oregon will be flooded with eclipse enthusiasts. The eclipse was estimated to begin at 9:05 A.M. PST with the totality occurring at 10:17 A.M. PST. The totality itself will only last about two minutes. We had to be warned against looking directly at the sun while the eclipse is setting into and releasing from its totality. There was a high potential for extreme and even permanent damage to the eye from looking directly into the sun for that extended period of time. NASA and the American Astronomical Society urge solar gazers to only use glasses with the safety standard number “ISO 12312-2” printed and guaranteed on them. Be safe and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.

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Home Sweet Home – by Bryan Johnston

JohnstonMy grandfather Harold Martin made his home in the Mona Community in Northeast Montana. His parents homesteaded there in 1915 and after marrying my grandmother Edith in 1925, they built their life together on that land. They had five children together and were active members in the Church and kingdom of God. My grandpa loved his family, his land, and his Lord. He worked hard running the farm, helping neighbors, and serving the church. He loved teasing his grandchildren, playing games, and making music on his fiddle. My grandpa loved his home.
When his wife Edith preceded him in death, Harold spent time living with his children. The farm was taken over by his son Duane and Harold would continue to help when he was able. His two daughters who lived in town would take turns looking after him and caring for his needs. As much as he loved his daughters’ care and attention, he always had an aching for home. For the first couple of years after Edith’s death, he would routinely ask to go home.
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