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Pastor Jeff's Office Hours:

     Tuesday: 9a-12p

 Wednesday: 12:30p-3:30p

     Thursday: 9a-12p

     Friday: 9a-12p

  • Rev. Jeff Patnaude

What does God want you to do with your life? You have put your faith in Jesus Christ

His Son, what does God want you to do now? August means new Freshmen will be heading off to college for the first time! Older students will be heading back, too! God’s calling is a very important topic for those who are young and just starting out. As they dream about a whole life ahead of them! But what dream does God have for them? It’s an important question for all of us, too, whether we are 18, 58 or 98! Because as long as we have life in our bodies, we have a calling from God to fulfill on this Earth. When we think about God’s calling, we so often think about what He is calling us to do, and well we should. God does have a plan for each of our lives. He has given each of us gifts and talents to be used for the common good in His world and to be used for the good of His Kingdom and Gospel. So we should be concerned with career and work in this world, with how we can contribute in positive ways to the wellbeing of our fellow human beings...whether we are a doctor, a teacher, a business owner, a salesman, or a retired volunteer or consultant. We should be concerned for family and friends too, and help them when we are able. And then, of course, we need to consider how we serve the Church. How can we use our strengths to enrich the congregation in which we are involved? How can we help the Kingdom of God press forward in this world, spreading the Good News about Him and changing lives? Yes, there is a lot of doing to be done and God is calling us to do it!

But the dream that God has for our lives is not just a dream of outward accomplishments, measured in how much money we made or how high in the company we climbed or even in how many people we helped, though that is a wonderful thing! He is not only concerned with how many people we were able to bring into the Kingdom through the sharing of the Good News about Jesus. You see, God’s call is not only about outward actions and achievements. God is also very concerned with the state of our character and soul. If we are instruments in His hands, He is not only concerned with how much music we can create each day, but whether that music is beautiful and harmonious, and with the quality of wood, strings, reeds and keys of which the instrument is constructed.

One of the most important things that God wants us to do with our lives—perhaps the most important is this: That we make ourselves ready for heaven...ready to live in His presence! And this is not something we can do alone, of course. As Paul says in Philippians 2:12-13, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good purpose.” God is working on us, helping us to reform ourselves and become like Christ, so that we might fit in when we get to heaven, so that we might truly belong there with Him. The work of Sanctification is the calling of every believer in Jesus Christ. Paul says it like this to His student and friend Timothy, “But you, man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12. But don’t we usually put developing Godly character on the back burner as we pursue other things in life? Pursuing God’s goals and working in His service for His world and His Kingdom is important. But we shouldn’t forget what is probably the most important work— to work on ourselves—on our character! We are called to be like Jesus—and not in just what He did, but also in who He IS. “What Would Jesus Do” is a popular saying and a good one. Here is another, “What was Jesus like?” Because actions come from motivations which come forth from our character. If we have Godly character, then our motivations and our actions will be Godly too! Or as Jesus put it, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45. Yes, we have a calling, to change the treasure that is in our heart from evil to good. To rearrange the way we think, to redirect our emotions, to remold our mindset until it matches, as close as possible, to what was within Jesus Christ our Lord. For what was in Him was Godly and Heavenly and true! Now, doing good deeds and serving Him surely will help us on the journey, but let us not forget the goal, because it is a vitally important one. What do we do in our lives to bring that about? How do we deliberately build our own character to match Jesus’ character? Study His Word? Pray? Worship? Fellowship with other believers? Make hard choices over and over again? Love those that are hard to love? Obey His commands even when it’s terribly difficult? How can we, with His help, change ourselves on the inside in a way that can’t help but be reflected on the outside? Our calling is to strive to be like Him, as much like Him as possible, until the day we see Him face to face and the process is finally complete. Let’s remember that calling and goal and strive toward it today and always!

In Christ,

Pastor Jeff

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  • Rev. Jeff Patnaude

“I love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer. My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.” (Psalm 18:1-3)

These are shaky times. Everyone seems to be confused and bewildered, wondering what is going on and what may happen in the future. Everyone seems to be in some degree of consternation, not being able to understand why people are acting the way they are and saying the things they say. Confusion reigns over even basic facts, like biology, and young people despair over their futures. No one seems to have any real answers. It’s like an earthquake is shaking our whole culture.

In such a time, the Lord is a rock. He is a safe place to stand. When every moral question is grey. When the only thing we know for sure is that nothing is for sure, there are no universal truths except that everyone can make up their own truth, in such a time as this, God’s truth is the rock on which we can stand. We may look around and see far fewer people standing on that rock today. But that doesn’t matter. It is still solid ground. Those who stand upon it will not be shaken. Others may ridicule and laugh, even as they sway back and forth and slowly sink, that we would choose to stand on such an ancient, old-fashioned stone. But we stand firm while they fall to the ground, chiding us as if standing upright is a sin and rejecting with a scoff our invitation to them to come, stand on the rock with us, for there is a place made for them on it. Let’s stand then, pointing out the shaky ground all around, and inviting those who stumble and fall to come to the true rock and stand safely.

When a flood of trouble engulfs a culture, how can we keep from being swept up and carried along? When we remember who we serve, that our God is a fortress, a stronghold, that He is able to deliver out of trouble and surround us and keep us safe from the enemy, then we will stand firm like a mighty oak with deep roots in the rushing waters. The walls of truth and the parapets of scripture stand on the rock of Ages. Inside them we live our lives, still reaping the fruit that comes from obedience to Him and real love for those around us. If the fires of hatred burn around us, if a tsunami of despair crashes through the land, we will not fear, the mighty fortress of Christ will keep the fires out of our hearts and the waters will break on the Firm Foundation. The walls of truth will keep us safe from the churning storm and the parapets of scripture will lift us high above the raging fires of our culture’s fit of resentment.

Don’t despair with them, beloved of the Lord, but stand on the rock. Call upon the Lord and make firm your trust and hope in Him. Do not let resentment, hatred or despair take root in your heart, but focus your thoughts on Him and be filled with joy. He is the everlasting God. He is the horn of our salvation. No trouble can come but that He allows it and no power can overwhelm those whom He causes to stand. For when things are good, we begin to believe that we can rely on ourselves; when things in our culture really start to go wrong though, then we come to understand how much we need the Lord. We need His wisdom, His power, His truth, and the joy and peace that comes from His love for us. We come to realize that there is wisdom in the scripture that is beyond the way that seems right to us, as if God can see much further down the road than we can and has told us to avoid the wide easy way and take the bumpy narrow path because He can see which one leads to destruction and which one will get us safely home. Will we scoff at His directions as so many do today? Or will we listen? If we listen and obey, we will find ourselves on solid ground, even while the whole world sinks. Let’s stand then, with outstretched arms, inviting the whole world to abandon their sinking ground and join us on the Rock of Ages.

In Christ,

Pastor Jeff

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  • Rev. Jeff Patnaude

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you go through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3

The stock market is down. Inflation is high. The economy is slowing. Talk of that old 70’s specter “stagflation” is in the news. Home sales are slowing. Interest rates are rising. We may be facing some hard times soon. What should we do when hard times come? Well, as Christians, the first thing we can do is to remember that we don’t rely on the economy or wealth for our security. Our security comes from the Lord, the Creator of all things. Really, that is a truth that we should always have in the front of our minds, even more so when times are good. Because it’s easy to start thinking that we are self-sufficient when everything is going up and up. When there is plenty of margin, it’s easy to rely less on God. Our very wealthy nation and culture has turned away from God, and partly that has been able to happen because of how much God has blessed us with material wealth. We haven’t needed to look to God for help, we believe we can just help ourselves. We haven’t needed to rely on God for the future, we have our 401ks, capital gains and of course, our government to rely on. But we never should have relied on any of those things. They don’t have the power to save. They can’t even guarantee to get you through even the next year. But the Lord, who has redeemed us, has promised eternal life to all who believe in Jesus His Son, and vowed to walk with them every day of this life.

Having more than what you need is wonderful. But we should see it as what it is—a blessing from God. And monetary luxury is not the pinnacle of His plan for us. God’s plan is not to make us rich in things, but rich in faith, love and godliness, so that whether we have much or little, we will be happy because we know Him. Whether we have much or little, we will be seeking to follow Him, love Him and be like Him in loving our neighbors.

If the market truly crashes and the economy returns to the stagflation of the 70s, many people will be very, very afraid. Will you? Some will ask, “How can a loving God let this happen?” And while one answer might be, “God didn’t do this, we did,” another question will be, “Do we only love God because He gives us financial prosperity?” Because I’ll tell you what, most of His servants in scripture were not that well off (Abraham and David being two notable exceptions). And when God the Son came into the world? How did He live? “Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” They didn’t trust God because He gave them fat loot all the time. They trusted Him and loved Him for who He is! Their joy came from knowing Him and living with and in Him every day.

Some people will abandon God if He allows hard times to come to us. Will we? Some will say, “How can God allow people to go hungry?” But is it God allowing that, or us? “God could provide for them,” Someone might say. Yes, He could, and maybe that provision is you. For you see, hard times always come. They come to every person. It’s just that, if the economy goes south, we will all share in hard times together at the same time, much like we did in the pandemic. But everyone goes through difficult things with quite a bit of frequency. Every day when you go about your life, you meet people who are going through terrible trials, you just can’t see it behind their brave face. God allows these things into our lives for a reason. It’s a vitally important reason, which makes sense because we know God loves us and does not wish to harm us. The Apostle Peter says it this way, “…now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith— more precious than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire— may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 1:6-7.

So, even if the market recovers and, by God’s grace, we manage to avoid tough financial times, there will still be trials in our lives. Peter tells us that God allows them to come because there is something ever so much more important than financial security or comfort. For those things pass away and will not come with us to the eternal kingdom that awaits all believers. No, our faith is much more precious, much more important and is the focus of God’s plan for us and all people—that we come to faith and that faith be made as strong as possible before the day we are called home. So, let us take every opportunity that God gives us, every difficult thing that comes, as another chance to practice and strengthen our faith and trust in Him, that we might become rich in what never crashes or dries up or disappears. And let us help one another in all our trials, bear each other’s burdens, that we might have eternal treasure in heaven, where it cannot be stolen by anyone.

Trouble will come, whether it be a rough economy ahead, or some other trial for you and me. Let’s face it in the strength that only faith in Jesus Christ can give…and through Him we will be victorious!

In Him, Pastor Jeff

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