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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

When the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary to announce the conception of Jesus, he tells her that she has found favor with God. Wow! What a thing to hear from an angel of the Lord! Was there something special about Mary that God might take notice and show favor to her? How is it that she came to be chosen by the Lord to bear the Son of God and be his mother? As you are surely well aware, there are vast differences between various Christian traditions in how much focus is put on Mary. Baptists rightly focus on Jesus, but sometimes we ignore Mary almost completely. We probably shouldn’t though, because there IS something special about Mary. There IS a reason that she found favor with God, a reason she was entrusted with what was pretty much the most important mission even taken on by a normal human being. That reason can be found in Luke chapter 1.

Christmas is coming. That means it’s time to start thinking about buying presents for our loved ones. Sometimes it can be quite challenging to come up with a good Christmas gift for certain people in your life. Everyone has that one relative who seem to already have everything! What do you get for that person? And the same might be said of God Himself. What in the world—or out of this world—could we get for the One who made the world!?! Everything belongs to Him! What gift could we give Him to make Him sit up and take notice? What could we ever do for Him? What could we give Him that would put a smile on His face this Christmas?

Mary knew the answer. That’s why she found favor with Him. That’s why God knew He could entrust such a vital mission to her. The long-awaited Messiah, prophesied by the great prophets, prepared for by Israel, the Hope of the Nation and of the World would be entrusted to a poor young woman. Mary couldn’t support a baby! She wasn’t wealthy! But God could easily provide material things—we just said He owns it all! No, He wanted someone who was special in a certain way, not wealthy in material things, but rich in something else. Mary was special. And we all can be special in the same way, if we want to. All we need is the same attitude Mary had. What attitude was that?

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Luke 1:38.

Mary was dedicated to serving God. She was at the Lord’s disposal. She was selfless and humble and gave herself to God to serve Him in whatever capacity He chose. She was His. Are we? Would we say the same thing she did? When God shows us His will for our lives, will we respond like Mary did? For God does have a mission for your life too, doesn’t He? Yes. He does. He has a mission and He has supplied you with gifts to be used for that mission. How will you go about serving Him? If He calls you today, are you ready to say, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said”?

Mary served God and Jesus His Son selflessly and without reservation. May we determine to do the same, this Christmas and always.

In Christ,

Pastor Jeff

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  • 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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