2016 Christmas Letter (edited for the web)

I bring you good news of
great joy that will be for
all
the people. Luke 2:10

Christmas 2016
Dear Fellow Parishioners, members and friends of The Solid Rock Church,

When you read in the Bible about the work of the early Church, about the coming of Jesus Christ into this world, and the foundational meaning of all of His life’s purpose, you will see that the topic of salvation, or being “saved” is a constant in the Biblical narrative, although expressed in different ways. That stated purpose is something we tend not to see out in the world. How often do we watch a show on TV at this time of year and we hear someone pontificate that Christmas is all about the family, and getting together, and having a wonderful time together, etc.? There is nothing wrong with those things – they are quite wonderful. But is that what Christmas is all about? The secular culture seems unable, or unwilling, to embrace a Biblical meaning to the birth of Christ.

Read through the book of Acts and where someone was preaching/teaching about Jesus, what was the basic or foundational understanding of the Christ event? It won’t take one long to see that Jesus’ birth, death, resurrection and the gift of Holy Spirit is about the gift of salvation to all who choose to believe in Jesus Christ.

That message is still relevant today, and as the quote at the top of this letter states, it’s good news that is for all people. That is the meaning of the word “catholic” in our Nicene Creed – that the gospel message is good for all people, for all time and in all places. In other words, there never has been, nor will there ever be, a person for whom the gospel message is not supremely and eternally relevant.

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Rom. 10:9-10) “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.” (Titus 2:11)

Celebrating and thanking God for this incredible, astounding, and most profound and needed gift is the most appropriate response to God. All through the ages God’s people have come together to give thanks to Him and to worship Him in formal ways. Doing so also helps us worship Him in informal ways. I pray each and every one of us will do so this Christmas. We’d love to have you join us!

Christmas Eve service is at 6 p.m. beginning with a set of some of our favorite Christmas hymns, followed by the service proper. We will also have a time of fellowship after the service. And Christmas morning, Sunday, Dec. 25 at 10:00 a.m. we will have our Christmas morning service too! Join us for one (or both!!).

If you would like to offer a financial gift of thanks to God through a special offering to The Solid Rock Church it would be graciously received and carefully utilized. Click “Give” & the button is also on the right column of the TSRC web page.

May God bless you and all your loved ones this Christmas season, and all through 2017. To God be the glory!

Yours in Christ,

Andrew S. Doan
Sr. Pastor

Jesus & Truth

November 29, 2016

John 18: 37 records Jesus as saying, “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world — to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

Luke 19:10 records jesus saying of Himself, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

We can see in these two verses, and in numerous other places too, that Jesus’ life, ministry and teaching was a witness to the truth. And in that witness, He proclaimed that we – all people – were lost and needed to be saved.

When we look at all that Jesus taught, it’s fairly easy to see that His view & understanding of reality was significantly different than what was the understanding of the people of His day. The same could be said today – of us. Consider the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), in particular the portion where He says, “You have heard that it was said… but I say to you…” (5:21, 27, etc.) He was telling them that their understanding of certain areas of life (and some might argue that by implication He was saying this about all areas of life) was in error; it was either flat out wrong, or incomplete and therefore still wrong.

In John 18:37 Jesus is standing before Pilate, not long before He was tortured and crucified. Jesus believed this witness to the truth was worth everything – literally.

If it was worth everything to Jesus, do you think it ought to be important to us too? Jesus in John 20:21 is recorded as saying, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” That means as we live our lives we should be a witness to the truth. Always. Everywhere. In all our decisions. Period.

Our opinions about issues of our day don’t matter one whit to God. Our witness to the truth does matter to God.

And truth is objective, not subjective, otherwise Jesus’ witness to the truth would have been meaningless. Truth is true regardless of our feelings, our understanding of truth, or our acceptance of truth. Truth was true yesteryear, yesterday, today and will be true tomorrow and every day.

Truth by its very definition is intollerant of error.

So… how do we come to know truth so we can accept Jesus’ testimony and amend our lives where needed – and thus enter into the truth of being “saved” – to let Jesus save us? (Notice I wrote “where needed” not “if needed”.)

We MUST read the Bible, and apply what we read. Courses can help with that, of course! One such course I believe to be among the best is The Truth Project. The Solid Rock Church is currently offering this course at two different times during the week.
1) Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. in our Conference Room, and
2) Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. in our Conference Room
located at 3601 Cypress Gardens Road, Winter Haven, FL.
Come to our next meeting, or call 863-875-4825 and leave a message for a call-back to receive infomation about our next course.

All who have made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are welcome to attend. No cost involved. Call if you just want a bit more info.

May all of us who call ourselves Christian become better at our witness to the Truth! And may Jesus Himself be our model, as He lived out truth which He received from His Father through the Old Testament and by the indwelling, empowering and leading of Holy Spirit.

To God be the Glory!