Main Thing 

Hebrews 8:1

Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, . . .”

Under the Levitical priesthood, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would enter into the Holy of Holies bringing atonement to the Lord on behalf of the people. His job was basically to represent the people to the Lord, and the Lord to the people. If memory serves me, I believe the Latin word for high priest means “bridge builder.” The role of the priest was to make a way for man to be right with God. Hebrews 8 reminds us, Christ is our High Priest and having made a way for us to be right with God, He is in heaven representing us to the Father.

As the High priest’s garments were stained red with the blood of the sacrifice, so Christ bears the scars of the cross, as a reminder of the atonement provided at Calvary. When we sin and the devil brings charges against us, our High Priest bridges the gap, perhaps by showing His scarred hands and feet, declaring that the price has been paid, and forgiveness is given.

When we are facing trials, obstacles or temptations, and it looks as though we may fail under the pressure of the test, our High Priest stands in the gap and prays for us. Like Aaron and Hur holding up the hands of Moses, Jesus holds up our hands that hang down and strengthens our feeble knees. It is His constant prayer and encouragement that enables us to press through the trials and onward with the Lord.

With eyes of love, our High Priests watches our every move. Not because He is hoping we will fail and He might rebuke, correct, and chasten us, but because He loves us as a father loves his son. There is never a moment when we are beyond His gaze. In one of the most magnificent promises in the Bible, we are told He sings over us (Zephaniah 3:17). Imagine the throne room of God, where the songs of the saints accompany the angelic choruses giving praise to Jehovah God. Then a voice rises high above all others and begins to sing a love song, and you are the subject of His song.

It is no wonder the writer of Hebrews declares that this is a better covenant.

Pastor Jim

Welcome Home

Jeremiah 16:14-15
“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that it shall no more be said, ‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.’ For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers.”

Jeremiah’s message was a warning of coming judgment and a call to return to the Lord. He predicted the Babylonians would soon overthrow Israel and take the people captive. He promised that those who turned to the Lord would experience the mercy of God, and one day the nation would be allowed to return to the land. It is here that a wonderful promise is made to the backslider. He declares, God will be known to them, not only as the one who redeemed them from Egypt, but also as the one who brought them back from Babylon. God is the God of salvation, and the God who brings the wayward home.

Throughout Scripture, we find God not only redeeming the lost, but also reaching out for those who have wandered, fallen, or returned to the life from which they were once redeemed. Jesus spoke of His desire to go after lost sheep, hunt for lost coins, and celebrate the return of a prodigal son.

Falling away from Christ is not the end. Jesus will welcome you back no matter how far you have fallen. He loves you and wants to be known, not only as the God who saved you, but as the one who restores the fallen.

Pastor Jim

The Encounter 

Hebrews 7:1

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, . . .”

Abraham and his nephew Lot experienced great blessings from the Lord. When they first arrived in Canaan, they had very little, but as the years passed, they acquired great wealth. As nomadic farmers, great success meant an increase in livestock, and increased livestock meant a need for larger pasture lands. Soon their wealth became so great they were forced to separate. Abraham chose to continue to live the simple life of a farmer, while Lot left the family business and began to dwell, with his family, in the city of Sodom. Sodom, and her sister city, Gomorrah, was known for the wickedness that was practiced within the city walls. The king of Sodom had been conquered by Chedorlaomer, a powerful king of Mesopotamia, and along with other kings, paid annual tribute to keep from being attacked. A group of these cities, including Sodom, elected to stop paying tribute and stand their ground. Soon, Chedorlaomer and his forces attacked the rebel cities, and overthrew them. As the saying goes, “to the victor goes the spoils”, and Lot, along with the inhabitants of Sodom and all their wealth, was taken captive. When news of this reached Abraham, he gathered his servants, other shepherds and farmers, and they went in pursuit of Chedorlaomer and his army. Overtaking them in the night, Abe and his men were able to do what the armies had failed to do, they miraculously conquered the enemy forces, and rescued the captives.

It was on the return from this great battle that Abraham met Melchizedek, king of ancient Jerusalem. Weary from battle, and perhaps somewhat frightened at the idea of the retaliation that may arise from Chederloamar’s troops, Abraham has one of the most interesting encounters of his life. We are told Melchizedek meets him with bread, wine and a blessing. The writer of Hebrews tells us Melchizedek is a type of Christ, and his actions illustrate the work of Christ. As the weary warrior is ministered to by bread and wine from Melchizedek, so the Christian is strengthened for future battle at the communion table. It was the night before His death when Jesus took bread and wine and instituted the sacrament of communion. He told us that as often as we want, we can partake of these elements and remember the work of the cross. My sins broke His body, and His blood cleanses me of my sins.

No matter what struggles, battles, or obstacles you may be facing, the secret to your success is found at the cross. Take some time today to reflect upon all that Jesus has done for you at Mount Calvary, and there at His feet, pour out your heart to Him.

Pastor Jim

Wrong Way 

Jeremiah 15:6
“‘You have forsaken Me’, says the Lord, ‘You have gone backward…'”

When I first moved to Florida I was introduced to a surf spot called “Monster Hole.” The wave breaks about 1/4 mile offshore on a sand covered reef. To reduce our paddling time, we jumped into the water and road the outgoing current from the nearby inlet. Since this spot only breaks with a good swell, a few months went by before I was able to surf there again. I parked my car, ran north to the inlet, jumped in the water, put my head down and began to paddle with all my strength. What I did not consider was that the tide was actually coming in not going out. After a few minutes of vigorous paddling, I looked up only to find that I had been sucked backwards. Still determined, I stroked harder and harder, but after about 10 minutes of going backwards, I realized my only course of action was to turn around, go into shore, and find another route to take.

Judah had been traveling in the wrong direction. Instead of walking with the Lord and seeking to please Him, they lived however they wanted. This course took them away from God and the blessed life He desired for them. Jeremiah’s voice echoed the prophets who had gone before him, as he pleaded with the people to change their route, and once again, follow the Lord.

Perhaps you have been traveling the wrong direction. If so, allow me to encourage you to change your route. Start by changing your destination. If we make it our aim to please the Lord with our daily living, we will find ourselves looking into the Word for guidance. We will also find, we are interested in what He has to say about the circumstances we are facing, and the decisions we need to make. Let’s stop moving backwards!

Pastor Jim


Jeremiah 14:10

“Thus says the Lord to this people:
“Thus they have loved to wander;
They have not restrained their feet.”

Jesus simplified life into two categories. He said we are either walking on the narrow road that leads to life or the broad road that leads to destruction. The way off the wide and unto the narrow is through the gateway of Christ. In fact, on one occasion, He even referred to himself as the door. The Gospel message is nothing short of offering us a ticket off the wide road to destruction, through the doorway of Jesus, on to the narrow road that leads to eternal life. Here Jeremiah warns of the danger of wandering off that road. He even explains what caused Judah to wander off.

They have not restrained their feet.” 

Years ago, while working in youth ministry, I went on my first and only backpacking adventure. Under the leadership of a friend who was quite skilled, we took a group of teenagers to the southern Sierras for a 4 day adventure. Before we ever left the church parking lot, he warned us all of the danger of wandering off the path. He said there would be things that would distract our attention and lead us astray, and we needed to determine in advance, to avoid these things. He recalled the details of hikers who had failed to heed the warnings, got off the trail, and were never heard from again. Needless to say,we all determined to avoid wandering off the path.

This same approach is necessary in our walk with the Lord. We need to restrain our own feet. We need to determine in advance that we will not walk down those roads that lead us away from Christ. If we start out each day girded in the armor of God, with the goal of pleasing Christ, we will be much less likely to find ourselves wandering away from Him, or returning to our past behaviors.

Pastor Jim


Hebrews 6:4-6

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”

When Jesus was in the wilderness he faced three severe temptations from the devil. Through His experience we learn a lot about how the devil seeks to trip up the Christian. One of his most effective tools is to twist the Scriptures into saying something they do not mean. This passage in Hebrews carries a very strong warning to all, concerning the danger of falling away from the Lord. But the devil has used it to fill numerous Christians with fear over their past failures, or current struggles. Let’s take a minute or two to examine its content.

First, notice the text is clearly describing a believer. The person being warned is one who has been enlightened, has tasted the heavenly gift, and been a partake of the Holy Spirit. The words enlighten and partake are used elsewhere in Hebrews referring to believers. To “fall away” is an idiom used to speak of returning to the sins from which we have been delivered. Earlier in the chapter, we were told one of the elementary principles of Christianity is repentance, or turning from our sins to follow Christ. The person described here, has turned from Christ and gone back into sin. Finally, notice the word “impossible”. It is a compound word, meaning able, with a negative prefix. It means there is no way for something to be accomplished. it does not mean that it is unlikely, or difficult, but that a person who goes back to sin, cannot return again to the Lord.

As I mentioned, this is both a strong warning, as well as a text that the devil has used to beat down the struggling believer. On many occasions, I have been approached by believers who had once walked with the Lord, only to backslide for long periods of time. They have now come back to the Lord, but come across this verse and begin to doubt their salvation. I think the key to this text is the word “impossible”. It is employed because of the gripping nature of sin, and the deceitfulness of the human heart. Falling away is not something that happens suddenly; but something that is the result of neglecting the Word, prayer, fellowship, and service. It is something caused by sowing little seeds of sin over a long period of time. When we first begin the downward slide, the Spirit of God speaks to us, warning us, and convicting us. It is only when we ignore the warnings and harden ourselves against conviction, that we can continue to sin. The problem with hardening our hearts, is that our hearts become hard. Soon, we cannot hear the voice of God, or sense the conviction of the Spirit. We have seared our conscience with an iron, and the voice of God is lost to us. At that point, even when confronted directly by others, we are so hardened, we keep going on in sin, unwilling to listen or repent. For that person, renewal is impossible. Before fear strikes you, keep in mind, it is not the only thing that is impossible.

Jesus said it is impossible for the rich to be saved because they trust in riches, yet many wealthy men and women have laid down their riches to trust in Christ alone. Salvation itself is impossible. There is no way sinful man could ever be restored to fellowship with a holy God. But Jesus reminded us that,

“The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27

While it is true, sin will harden our hearts; we are capable of becoming so hardened we will not listen to the conviction of the Spirit, the warnings of the Word, or the pleas of others. It is also true, the Bible is filled with stories of those who have fallen into sin and returned. One of the most well-known of all the parables Jesus told, is the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-24). It is the story of falling away and returning. It is so well-known because it strikes a chord in all of us. We might go so far as to say, the whole Bible is the story of falling away and returning.

If we are to properly apply this text, we must take serious the warning against sin. We must examine ourselves to see if we have been hardening ourselves against the warnings of God, and we must repent. If we have returned to the Lord, we must accept the grace of God and not think we are destined to live as second class Christians, unable to ever truly experience His grace or be used by God.

Pastor Jim

It’s Ruined 

Jeremiah 13:1
“Thus the Lord said to me:’Go and get yourself a linen sash, and put it around your waist…'”

Often the prophets were instructed to illustrate their messages. God so greatly desired His message to be heard that He would wrap it in packages that would be difficult to forget. In this case, Jeremiah was instructed to strut around town wearing a beautiful sash. Since the normal attire of a prophet was quite drab, this sash would certainly grab the people’s attention. After some time, Jeremiah buried the sash in the muddy banks of the Euphrates river. There it sat until it was ruined and could no longer serve its purpose. Jeremiah then dug it up, put it on and once again strutted through the city. As much as the beautiful sash had captured the attention of the people, this filthy, worn and tattered garment would be difficult to miss. When asked why he was wearing it, Jeremiah was to reply that just as the sash was ruined by the weather, so Judah had been ruined by ignoring the ways of God and living after their own desires.

We were designed by God with a purpose. That purpose is wrapped up in living after the precepts found in His Word. When we neglect or reject the ways of God, we are no longer living according to the design. A flower planter made from a muscle car might be unique and even capture people’s attention, but that is certainly not what that vehicle was designed to be. We were designed to bring glory to God, and will find the greatest fulfillment in life when we choose to surrender to, and follow after, Christ.

Don’t be a muddy sash.

Pastor Jim