Message from Rev. Moore – December 2016

holynight

 

Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth!

 

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”—Nelsen Mandela.

Mandela was a great humanitarian and civil rights leader for the people of South Africa! But he had too high a view of human nature and human moral ability. For the unregenerate, hate is more natural; love is most unnatural. You cannot change the human heart by naively teaching people to love and not hate. Until the depraved human heart is reconciled to God by way of regeneration (i.e. being born again from above by the Spirit of Christ Jesus), and no longer hostile to God, then and only then can human beings truly learn to love his and her fellow man as he or she ought!

This is why Jesus came as a baby in the manger. Our Lord God incarnate– the second Person of the Trinity, as the Son of God enfleshed– came to put an end to hate and hostility. He came first to announce the beginning of the end of hostility between humanity and God. The reason why there is hate and there is hostility between our fellow man is because of the hostility between mankind and God. That is the source of our hate for one another. Yet while we were enemies against God, He offered His love to us! This is what Christmas is all about!!

During this Holy Season of Advent and Christmas may God’s radiance beam from the holy face of the Son of God as His love, love’s pure light, of redeeming grace continue to infuse us with supernatural love  as grace changes our hearts to love and not hate.

Soli Deo Gloria
Carl Moore

 

Personal Note from Our Pastor

img_1647If I were to describe my life, I must say that I have been treated better than I deserve! I was born and raised by loving parents. I am the oldest of five siblings. My father and mother raised me and my siblings in the church. In the early years, we were Southern Baptist. Then, when I was roughly middle-school-age, my parents became members of a non-denominational, charismatic church called Abundant Life Church in Richmond, Virginia. Abundant Life was an offshoot from a ministry called New Life for Youth. This served to spiritually, personally, and socially restore young men and women with drug abuse issues and criminal backgrounds. Our family was very active in this church and ministry. Later, my parents left this church to attend and become members of a flagship Assembly of God Church called West End Assembly of God in Henrico County, Richmond, Virginia. I grew up attending worship and other functions. I always loved going to Sunday School and church as a child and was very active in church in my youth.

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Message from Rev. Moore – November 2016

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17 ESV)

In 1900 a Japanese writer named Natsume Soseki visited England for the first time. While he was there he was surprised to discover that few of the locals appreciated or even noticed all of the beauty that he saw. Soseki was so captivated by the snow that he invited some friends over for a “snow-viewing,” but they just laughed at him. When he told another group that the Japanese are deeply emotional about the moon, they looked at him with confusion. Then Soseki told the following story:

One day, when [my host] and I took a walk in the garden, I noted that the paths between the rows of trees were all thickly covered with [beautiful] moss. I offered a compliment, saying that these paths had magnificently acquired a look of age. Whereupon my host replied that he soon intended to get a gardener to scrape all this [ugly] moss away.

Soseki’s surprise—that is his discovery that few locals in England during the turn of the Century and at the end of the Victorian era, appreciated or took notice of the beauty around them—reminds me of a Chinese proverb: “If you want to know about water don’t ask a fish.” The point of the proverb (and Soseki’s experience), is that too often we take too much for granted. We take too much for granted because we don’t stop and reflect and give thanks for what’s right before our eyes. When was the last time you or I were thankful for something as simple as a bright sunny day? As James says, all good gifts come down from God, especially the gift of light. As a pastor, I am thankful for the churches I have served. As your newly elected pastor, I am truly grateful and honored to serve you.

This month when we say grace over our Thanksgiving meal, may we thank God first and foremost for things we take for granted. May we thank God for life and light, for family and friends, for faith, for work and relaxation—all for the glory of God and our satisfaction in Him.

Soli Deo Gloria
Pastor Carl