Please remember that the Pasta Dinner is on November 24. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Tickets are available at the back of the church on weekends and from the office during the week. They are not available at the door.
The Evening with Santa is on December 1st. Tickets are $5 and are available at the back of the church on weekends and from the office during the week.
Do you recognize the signs of God's kingdom - signs that point to his power and action in our lives and in the world around us? The Lord Jesus came to bring us the kingdom of God and to set us free from bondage to sin, death, and destruction and from the powers of the evil one who tempts us through lies and deception. Jesus told his first disciples that it was for their benefit that he return to his Father in heaven in order for the Holy Spirit to come (John 16:7) and fill the earth with the fire of God's love, truth, and glory. The Lord Jesus in every age fills his people with the power of the Holy Spirit so that each one of us can hear his voice, understand his truth, and sow the seeds of his word - the good news of the Gospel - wherever he sends us. The Lord Jesus is preparing his people for his return - for the day of "tribulation" and "shaking" when he will appear "coming in clouds with great power and glory".
The image of a "Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven" is taken from the vision of the prophet Daniel (Daniel 7:13-14). Daniel's vision is a royal investiture of a human king before God's throne. This king, whose authority comes from God, is given power to rule over "all peoples, nations, and languages" (Daniel 7:14). The kingdom which he comes to establish cannot be broken or destroyed because it is built on the foundation of God's justice, truth, and holiness. The day of the Lord's return will be unlike any other moment in time, history, and destiny for the human race and our place in God's creation. Then the "stars of heaven will fall and all will be shaken" before the presence of the Lord when he comes. Then the peoples of the earth and their rulers will know who is the true King and Ruler over all.
What lesson does the Lord Jesus want us to learn from the parable of the budding fig tree? The fig tree was a common and important source of food for the Jews. It bore fruit twice a year, in the autumn and in the early spring. The prophet Joel mentions its fruit-bearing as a sign of favor from the Lord (Joel 2:22). The Talmud (a Jewish commentary and instruction on the Torah or Five Books of Moses) said that the first fruit came the day after Passover. The Jews believed that when the Messiah came he would usher in the kingdom of God at Passover time. This parable foretells the joy of God's kingdom - the joy of new life and the promise of a new age of peace and blessing. The signs of spring are evident for all who can see. Just so are the signs of God's kingdom. The "budding" of God's kingdom begins first in the hearts of those who are receptive to God's word. Those who trust in God's word will bear the fruits of his kingdom. And what are the fruits of that kingdom? "The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).
The first coming of the Lord Jesus is inseparably linked with his second coming at the end of this present age. We do not know the day or hour when the Lord will return again in glory. But now in this present age we can experience the first-fruits of the kingdom of God - the abundant new life in the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, and the fruits of the Spirit - love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) and so many other qualities which the Spirit works within us - thus enabling us to love and serve others with tender hearted mercy, patience, and goodness.
I hope you all have a good week!