Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday Message - Full of Moxie

Chaplain Jesse will be examining on of the judges, Gideon, and how he had the moxie to lead God's children back to God.

Answers Inside - Micah 6:8

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Prayers for the Persecuted - Pastor Bakhrom Kholmatov

A pastor in Tajikistan has been arrested on charges of 'extremism' for having a book by a well-known US Christian author.

Bakhrom Kholmatov is a pastor in the Sunmin Sunbogym (Good News of Grace) Protestant Church, whose congregations have been raided by secret police. He was arrested at his Khujand church in April.

The church is an officially registered congregation. However, according to the Forum 18 news service, authorities put pressure on the congregation in an attempt to close it. 'Officers insulted the believers by shouting and swearing at them. They demanded that they renounce their faith and leave the Church,' members of the congregation said.

They claimed some were beaten and others forced out of their jobs.

According to Forum 18, officers of the secret police told members that the words of hymns and Christian books, including More Than A Carpenter by American author Josh McDowell, were 'extremist'.

Please pray for Pastor Bakhrom Kholmatov and his church. As we remember him in our prayers, let us not forgot the others who are persecuted for their faith.

But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! ~Matthew 5:44

Answers Inside - Paul

Colossians 1:15 New Living Translation

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mid-Week Message - Tough Love

Parents know that sometimes tough love is necessary.  As much as we love our children, the gentle touch just doesn't always work.  If little Billy is about to jump off the roof of the house, quiet pleading just might not stop him.  It isn't easy to come down hard on those we love but it is sometimes the most loving thing to do.

Discipline isn't fun.  It wasn't fun when we were young and it isn't fun when we are older.  I made every attempt with my daughter to make sure that she knew about accountability and that it didn't end when she became an adult.  We remain answerable to our spouses, our employers, our government entities and, most importantly, to God.  

I was exceptionally close to my earthly father.  One hundred percent a daddy's girl is what I was from my birth to his death and even beyond.  My mother said I would start crying when he left for work in the mornings and that I wouldn't stop until he came home in the evening.  Yes, I loved my daddy! Because of that I worked hard to win and keep his approval and was crushed when he disciplined me. As a parent myself now I realize that he didn't like those times any more than I did.  

When I was a school secretary, teachers often sent children to me who were acting up in class.  This school had all ages and one of the Pre-Kindergarten little boys was sent to me one day.  Now this wasn't just any student.  It was the son of my best friend.  Because he had been sent to me more than once for this particular behavior, I told him that it was now time to call and talk to his father.  His eyes widened in horror as he spoke his response which was, "But Daddy be's mean when we're bad!" I held in my laughter as I dialed the phone because I knew his father and how loving he was.  No, none of us likes discipline.  

One of the most beautiful ways that God portrays Himself to us is as a Father.  He has accepted us as His children and loves us enough to do what is best for us in every circumstance, even if that means disciplining us.  Hebrews 12:5-6 says, "And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? 'My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.'" When we go through times of the Lord's discipline, we can feel loved.  Because, like our parents told us, if He didn't care for us, He wouldn't bother.   

Whatever your week holds, I pray it also holds plenty of times to rejoice.  And if you are going through a time of instruction, training and discipline from above, rejoice even more.  You are important to Him.  Important enough to care and exercise tough love even though it hurts Him more than it hurts us.  God bless.  

Answers Inside - Hebrews 7:25

Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.
Hebrews 7:25 NLT

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Message - Water to Restore Your Soul

Chaplain Jesse will be examining the living water that we all need to renew, restore and reinvigorate our thirsty spirits. Our daily walks sometimes take us through arid regions and we need, more than ever, to drink from the spring that bubbles and flows from Jesus.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mid-Week Message - Discount Faith

We do most of our shopping at a discount retail store that everyone knows.  We do that because the prices are consistently less and it's a "one stop shop".  There are grocery stores here that carry better quality produce and higher quality meats that we would rather shop at but watching what we are spending is important.  We buy a lot of store brands and choose lower quality goods that will meet our immediate needs in order to stay within our budget.  You probably do at least a bit of this as well. 

"Less is more" is a popular mantra these days.  If we spend less on everyday things, we have more to spend on things we will enjoy, like entertainment.  Tiny houses are getting a lot of media time because people are choosing to spend less, be more mobile and experience life aside from heavy debt burdens.  Many young people are opting not to attend college because of the monetary cost.  It seems like responsibility is a lot less desirable than it once was.

What happens if we allow this to carry over into our spiritual lives? Does the "less is more" idea work there too?  In a way it would.  If we spend less time on earthly matters and more time in prayer and in our relationship with Jesus, then "less" would help to achieve "more."  However, less would definitely not be more if we spend less time in prayer or worship or study.  In any relationship, time is important.  Communication is important.  The more time we spend with someone and the better we communicate with them, the more and better we will know them and that objective of a healthy relationship.

Is there such a thing as "discount faith?"  I believe there is.  I have been in churches where the main idea seems to be to entertain the congregation rather than to focus on the inerrant Word of God. Simply speaking pleasing words from the pulpit rather than speaking the truth of the scriptures is one example but there are others.  A few years ago, I knew a young man whose church sponsored a hard rock night for kids of the area. He said it was a Christian group. however the lyrics couldn't be understood because they were screamed and the music was exceedingly loud.  In addition, there was a mosh pit.  Pardon me for asking what the message was that night.  I fail to understand how appearing to be the same as the world could draw anyone to Jesus.  

There are many areas of life where it is acceptable to cut corners.  We certainly should be good stewards of our money and our time.  Life is temporary and we will only have so many resources at our disposal.  Buying ground beef rather than steak makes sense if you are on a budget.  Shopping at second hand stores rather than high priced clothing shops is smart.  Taking time and effort away from the Lord though, is not.  He created us and desires to spend time with us.  He gave us His Word so that we can know Him.  Faith increases as our knowledge of and relationship with Him grows.  As young lovers desire to spend every moment with each other, so should our love for the Lord create in us a desire to spend more and more time with Him.  It is worth every second.

Prayers for the Survivors and Families of the Oklahoma City Bombing

Twenty-two years ago, Americans around the country witnessed the horrific scenes of a domestic terrorist attack in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 168 lives were cut short when a bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

As we observe today's tragic anniversary, the scars of that day remind us that we need to always be vigilant and work with local law enforcement to prevent tragedies like this. 

Please pray for the families that lost loved ones and for the survivors who remember that day as if it happened yesterday. 

We should continue to pray for the men and women of law enforcement, fire departments, EMS and all public servants who regularly put their lives on the line for our safety.

We will always remember.

Psalm 34:18 New Living Translation (NLT)

18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

A Great and Blessed Nation - Deuteronomy 4:7

For what great nation has a god as near to them as the LORD our God is near to us whenever we call on him?
Deuteronomy 4:7 (NLT)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Answers Inside - Gospels

Luke 1:4 New Living Translation

Begin Each Morning with Praise

Each morning I get up and spend time in the Word and listening to praise music. In fact, as I write this blog posting, I am listening to praise music. 
With all of the things going on in our lives, we need to take time to be in the presence of the Lord with words of praise and thanksgiving. Each morning when we rise, it is a blessing. Just as God the Father blessed us with another morning and day of life, we should bless Him by spending time with Him. 

We should be speaking from our souls and raise up our voices in praise. We should be extolling His mighty power in our lives. 

1 Chronicles 16:8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
    Let the whole world know what he has done.

He is Exalted!
Twila Paris

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday - Receiving the Gift of Eternal Live

John 17:3 New Living Translation (NLT)

And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.

Do you have that guarantee of eternal life? On this Easter Sunday, please ask Jesus to come into your heart and accept him as your personal Savior and Lord today.

Easter Sunday - He Loved Us First

1 John 4:19 New Living Translation (NLT)

We love each other because he loved us first.

Easter Sunday - Raised from the Dead

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 New Living Translation (NLT)

3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.

Easter Sunday - Death Has No Hold

Acts 2:24 New Living Translation (NLT)

But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.

Easter Sunday - Every Knee will Bow

Philippians 2:10 New Living Translation (NLT)

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

Easter Sunday Message - Don't Be Afraid

In this message, Chaplain Jesse will look at the words uttered to Mary by an angel, to the shepherds, to Jesus' disciples and to the Mary Magdalene and the other Mary when they visit the tomb. Those words are "don't be afraid".

When we encounter things that are outside of our frame of reference, we become fearful. We must be reassured and change how our minds and hearts focus on Jesus.

Easter Sunday - New Life

Romans 6:4 New Living Translation (NLT)

4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

Easter Sunday - He is Risen!

Luke 24:5-7 New Living Translation (NLT)

5 The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”

Why Should You be Fearful or Tremble?

Psalm 27:1 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
    so why should I tremble?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

He will Swallow up Death Forever!

He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The LORD has spoken!
Isaiah 25:8 NLT

Answers Inside - New Testament

Revelation 3:20 New Living Translation

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday - He Bore Our Sins

1 Peter 2:24 New Living Translation (NLT)

24 He personally carried our sins
    in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
    and live for what is right.
By his wounds
    you are healed.

Good Friday - Mission Possible

Chaplain Jesse, in his Good Friday message, will be looking at the sacrifice of Jesus and his mission on earth. It is because of his sacrifice that we have the salvation that is freely given. It is undeserved and unconditional. God loved us so much that He gave us His son.

The Legend of the Dogwood Tree

According to legend, the wood of the dogwood tree was used to build the cross that Christ Jesus was crucified on. After he died on the cross, the dogwood trees in the grove changed over night. The wood that was once strong and straight curled and became misshapen. It was said that the tree felt the shame of being used to crucify the Son of Man.

The following poem describes the plight of the dogwood.

In Jesus' time, the dogwood grew 
To a stately size and a lovely hue. 
'Twas strong and firm, its branches interwoven. 
For the cross of Christ its timbers were chosen. 
Seeing the distress at this use of their wood 
Christ made a promise which still holds good: 
"Never again shall the dogwood grow 
Large enough to be used so. 
Slender and twisted, it shall be 
With blossoms like the cross for all to see. 
As blood stains the petals marked in brown, 
The blossom's center wears a thorny crown. 
All who see it will remember Me 
Crucified on a cross from the dogwood tree. 
Cherished and protected, this tree shall be 
A reminder to all of My agony."

Even in Our Darkest Hours

Let our faith arise to the challenges of any obstacle. The joy of the Lord is our strength. We will praise you, Lord! Nothing can stand in our way when the Lord stands with us. He is our protector, provider and Father.

Nehemiah 8:10 New Living Translation (NLT)

And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

Good Friday - Scripture

Isaiah 53:5 New Living Translation (NLT)

5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
    crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
    He was whipped so we could be healed.

Overwhelmed by Problems?

I can honestly answer that question with a resounding "yes". I have problems that eat away at me. We all face them, but we need to be going to the Lord with our problems and praying. The other thing that we need to do is make sure we listen to Him. It is so easy to get wrapped up in your problems and not focus on God or listen to Him. He is talking to you.

If I fail to hear the message, He will see to it that He gets my attention by providing the message to someone via the Holy Spirit. So, rest assured God is listening and He is on the case. Answers are already on their way to you. Just stay focused on Him and listen and watch for the answer.

Isaiah 26:3 New Living Translation (NLT)

You will keep in perfect peace
    all who trust in you,
    all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mid-Week Music - Easter Song

As we continue through this Holy Week, let us remember why Jesus came to live among us. His life, death and resurrection are the foundation of our faith. It is through him that we are able to live life eternal with our Heavenly Father.

Mid-Week Message - Incredible Love

Years ago, for a Christmas dinner at our church, I wrote and performed a skit showing Mary, the mother of Jesus, at her Son's crucifixion.  While she was watching the horrors unfold before her, she was thinking back to His birth.  Of all that I have ever written, I have to say this was my personal favorite.  Not because I thought it was written well, but because I had to reach deep inside myself to try to imagine the feelings each event must have evoked in her.

The resurrection is crucial for the Christian faith.  If Jesus did not rise from the dead then He was not who He claimed to be and we are believing in a lie.  However, if in reality all that we are taught through scripture is true, then we actually do have a risen Savior who accomplished all He promised.

Easter Sunday is the day to celebrate.  It is why we sing out hallelujah's and dance with joy.  But there were a series of events that led up to that miraculous day that we need to remember as well.

Jesus always knew what was coming.  Every word He spoke and every move He made were done with His death in mind.  Every minute of every day of His life, He could have said, "NO!"  Each time He faced trials, rejection or hatred, He could have decided that we weren't worth it. All the way up to, and including, when He was hanging on the cross, He could have changed His mind.  So why didn't He?

We know that as He prayed in the garden before being arrested, He asked His Father if the cup could be removed from Him.  Being fully divine but fully human, He had the same emotions we have. Fear, dread, anguish.  Yet, He was willing to put all those feelings aside and say, "Not my will, but Yours be done."

Why did He go through with it?  Why did One who could have called down legions of angels to His defense allow Himself to be beaten, spat upon, scourged, mocked, humiliated and nailed to a cross with a crown of thorns jabbed into the skin of His head?  He was fully God.  What held Him there? Not the nails.  Man made nails could never have the power to hold Him.  No.  Not nails, no matter how strong and large.  The only thing that could keep Him on that cross was love.

Your face, my face, every face of every person that has ever lived or ever will live and His incredible, unconditional love for us is what He gave His life for.  His blood, shed for us so that we could be forgiven, is the reason.  And because He is Truth, He rose again as He said He would and someday, soon, I hope, we will get to see His beautiful face and experience His love as He welcomes us home.

Holy Week Scripture - Romans 8:11

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
Romans 8:11 NLT

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Answers Inside - Gospels

Mark 1:15 New Living Translation

Pray for World Peace

As I read article after article regarding Syria and the actions of the superpowers, we, as Christians, need to be in prayer more than ever to ask for wisdom and love for our neighbors. 

I know that I sound naive and have a very simple view of world affairs, but I do know that our leaders need to seek the wisdom of our Heavenly Father. Please pray that we will no longer seek confrontation.

We should remember the words of Isaiah 2:4.

The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.

By seeking God in all of our actions, we know that we can live in peace. We have seen the tragedies of Syria, children hurt in Mosul and list of horror goes on. 

Please continue to pray for peace.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Prayers for San Bernardino Elementary School

A California elementary school is currently on lockdown after 4 people reportedly were shot there Monday in what police suspect is a murder-suicide.

The incident happened around 10 a.m. local time at the North Park Elementary school in San Bernardino.

Please keep the families and students in your prayers. 

Holy Week - Scriptures

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:28 New Living Translation (NLT)

Prayers for the Persecuted - Andrew Brunson

American Pastor Andrew Brunson, a United States citizen from North Carolina, has been unjustly held in Turkey on false terrorism charges. Languishing in a prison cell built for eight, which at times holds as many as 22 prisoners, of which Pastor Andrew is always the only Christian, he and his wife stand firmly in His grace.

Turkey, our NATO ally, has begun increased crackdowns on Christians. If convicted, Pastor Andrew could face years in prison based on extremely serious and false charges.

Pastor Andrew sent a message to President Trump asking for help. In response, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently met for 20 minutes with Pastor Andrew's wife in Turkey.

Please continue to pray for Pastor Andrew, his family and for his release. As we remember him, let us also remember all of those who are being persecuted for their faith.

1 Peter 4:12-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

14 If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.

Answers Inside - Proverbs

Proverbs 28:13 New Living Translation

Prayers for the Persecuted - 2 Coptic Churches in Egypt

With the death toll now at 49 from the 2 bombings of Coptic churches in Egypt, the families of the dead have started to bury their loved ones.

The attacks occurred in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria. The President of Egypt has declared a state of emergency for the next 3 months.

According to CNN, 27 people were killed and 78 were wounded in the northern city of Tanta while attending Palm Sunday services at St. George. In Alexandria, 18 civilians and 4 police officers were killed outside of the St. Mark's church. The police officers had stopped the bomber from entering the church. The Coptic Pope Tawadros II was leading a service there at St. Mark's.

As more information comes out about these horrible attacks, we, as Christians, must continue to pray for the families of the dead and for those injured in these attacks. 

Matthew 5:9 (NLT)

God blesses those who work for peace,
    for they will be called the children of God.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Palm Sunday - Psalm 103:2-4

Palm Sunday - Psalm 9:10

Palm Sunday - Zechariah 9:9

Prayers for the Persecuted - 2 Coptic Churches in Egypt Attacked

According to the New York Times, two explosions at Coptic churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday left at least 40 people dead and injured dozens of others as a day of worship in the besieged Christian community turned to destruction and carnage.

The first blast ripped through St. George’s Church in northern Egypt in the Nile Delta city of Tanta, 50 miles north of Cairo, during a Mass about 9:30 a.m., according to an official from the Health Ministry. The deputy minister of health put the death toll at 27.

Hours later, a suicide bomber set off an explosion outside the main Coptic church in Alexandria, St. Mark’s Cathedral, killing at least 13 — including three police officers — and injuring 21 others, the Health Ministry said.

Sunday Praise and Worship - The Lord Needs

Chaplain Jesse will lead the Palm Sunday praise and worship service. In his message, "The Lord Needs," Chaplain Jesse will be examining what the Lord needs from us.

Prayers for the Persecuted - Church Bombing in Egypt

A bomb exploded in a church north of Cairo that was packed with Palm Sunday worshipers, killing at least 13 people and wounding 25 others, officials said.

The attack in the Nile Delta town of Tanta was the latest in a series of assaults on Egypt's Christian minority, which makes up around 10 percent of the population and has been repeatedly targeted by Islamic extremists. It comes just weeks before Pope Francis is due to visit Egypt.

Please pray for the families that have lost loved ones and for the injured and their families.

Matthew 5:10 New Living Translation (NLT)

God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Changing Sunday Praise and Worship Format

In order to minimize the disruptions of reading and listening to the praise and worship service, we have decided to provide the entire service in audio format and it will be made available at 9AM EDT every Sunday. 

Instead of reading parts of the service, all entries are provided in one podcast.

Let us know what you think. Additionally, we have added music to our service from our friends at