Christ is My Rock

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11

Recommended reading: 1 Corinthians 3

Edward More was born into poverty in London. His parents would not allow a Bible in their house, but somehow Edward heard the gospel as a teenager and came to Christ. He became a skilled carpenter and owned his own cabinet shop. One
morning it came to him to write a hymn on the gracious experience of being a Christian. One day in 1834 he wrote four verses of the hymn, “The Solid Rock.” At the age of 55 he gave up his carpentry and became a pastor for the Baptist
Church in Horsham, Sussex, where he ministered for 21 years. He passed away at the age of 77.

The prayer for the week is a verse from the hymn which is left out of most hymnals today: I trust His righteous character, His council, promise, and His power; His honor and His Name’s at stake to save me from the burning lake. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. Amen

Submit Your Heart to the Lord

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30

Recommended reading: 1 Corinthians 1

Count Nickolaus von Zinzendorf was born into a wealthy family in the little German town of Hermhut. His parents insisted his pursue a career as diplomat and statesman. From childhood, Nickolaus had a tender heart toward the Lord and felt God’s call to the ministry. The opportunity came unexpectedly. In nearby Moravia, a group of Christians were being persecuted for their faith. They came to him for refuge. He assisted them in building a community on his estate and he became their spiritual leader. Over seventy overseas missionaries came out of their community of six hundred. Nickolaus wrote many hymns. His best known hymn is “Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness” in 1739. It was Zinzenhorf’s London-based Moravians who helped lead John and Charles Wesley in their faith in Christ and helped to launch their history-changing ministry.

Prayer for the week:
Dear Lord, deliver us from senseless pride and help us to walk humbly in service to You. Thank you for the privilege of knowing Your Son, Jesus Christ and Your commandments that us in our life’s journey. Praise God. Amen.

Jesus Died on the Cross for All of Us to Live

For the message of the cross is…to us who are being saved…the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

Recommended reading: 1 Corinthians 1.

Elizabeth Clephane was born in Edinburgh and her father was the Sheriff of Fife. She was a very quiet little child. She was always absorbed in books. Both of her parents died at an early age. She was the cleverest one of her family, first in her class and a favorite at school. Her love of poetry was a passion. Among the sick and suffering, she was known as “My Sunbeam.” She was a diligent Bible student, a sympathetic listening listener and a worker among the
poor in frail later years. She and her sisters once sold their horse and carriage to raise money for a needy family. One of her poems became the hymn “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” with the music composed by Frederick Maker in 1868. Her other hymn is “The Ninety and Nine.”

My prayer for the week:
Dear Lord, Your Grace sustains us every day because Your Love has no boundaries. Your love embraces the lonely, forgives the unworthy and cares for the unthankful. Dear Lord thank you for Your faithfulness every day. Amen

Let the Holy Spirit Come Into Your Heart

Now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. Romans 13:11

Recommended reading: Romans 13

Lelia Naylor grew up in Ohio. As a child, Lelia went forward to the altar several times, seeking salvation. At the age of ten she converted to God. Shortly thereafter she began playing the organ at prayer meetings. Age the age of nineteen Lelia married Charles Morris and they joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. She sang in choir and worked in Sunday school and women’s ministries. Lelia wrote the words and music to over a thousand gospel songs, but shunned the limelight preferring to be a nondescript homemaker for forty eight years. One of her first hymns written in 1898 was “Nearer, Still Nearer.”

My prayer for the week:
Dear Lord, thank you for the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit. Help us to open our hearts and let the Holy Spirit come in to cleanse our souls to better serve You. May our lives be a light to bring others together know You and Your Son Jesus. In Your Holy Name we pray. Amen

God Loves All Equally

For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13

Recommended reading: Romans 10

Stuart Hamblen hosted a popular west coast radio show and was infamous for his gambling and brawling. In 1949 Billy Graham came to Los Angeles for a crusade. The crusade was off to a slow start. Henrietta Mears invited Billy to speak
to a group of Hollywood personalities. Hard-drinking western star, Stuart Hamblen was present. The two men took a liking to each other. Billy wanted to win Stuart to Christ. The three week crusade neared its end with no sign of Stuart’s conviction. At 4:30 the next morning Billy was awaken by a telephone call from Stuart. That night, Stuart gave his heart to the Lord Jesus. Stuart shared his story on his radio show. John Wayne heard the story and asked about it. Stuart answered “Well, Duke, it’s no secret what God can do.” “Sounds like a song,” said John. Stuart went home and wrote the hymn, “It Is No Secret.”

My prayer for the week: Dear Lord, thank you for sharing Your love equally with all of us. Lord, You walk beside us and support us in all we do. We know we are not alone because You are with us at all times. Alleluia! Praise God. Amen

Rescued by a Child


God takes our conventional wisdom and turns it upside down.  What we consider wisdom, God declares as foolishness. Imagine God saying, “Seriously?” to ideas we think are the smartest ever…
For instance, we may do everything possible in our capacity to protect our own lives and sense of comfort, while God says the path is discovered as we give our lives away in service to others. Or with pride we emphasize the importance of growth and maturity.  Yet God teaches that to best receive what God offers, our approach should be that of a humble, trusting child.

When will we learn?  You’d think we could have figured all this out by now…

It’s a good thing that God doesn’t give up on us.  Again and again, another chance is offered.  It’s there, or should I say He’s there, as God’s gift for our human predicament.  Entering our world in the lowliest of circumstances, a child has been born for our rescue.  The child has come as the very embodiment of God’s wisdom and ways.  His presence is that of the little child who will lead us—along with all of creation—into the renewal of God’s original design and the fulfillment of God’s astounding purposes.  His name is Jesus.  He’s here for you, for me.

In the next weeks we’ll be exploring the question of “Who is Jesus?”  Along the way, we’ll look at what he said, what he did, what others said about him.  We’ll sort through the matters of what He means right now for you, for me.  Please join us Sunday mornings, hopefully in church (we would love to see you), but you can also watch online at our homepage.  Either way, we invite you to come experience not only the rescue He brings, but the life in which we are abundantly loved, together… a life for which we are being rescued.
Listen to the message from Christmas Eve for more on Rescued by a Child
Please join us for a One Church worship service on January 1, beginning at 10 a.m.
January 8, our three Sunday services resume at 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m.
See FAQs you may have about attending Sunday services at Rapid City First UMC.

I Put My Whole Trust in Jesus my Savior

For I am persuaded that neither death or life, nor angels or principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Recommended reading: Romans 8

Samuel Francis was born in a village north of London. His father was an artist. As a child Samuel enjoyed poetry and compiled his own poetry. He had a passion for music and joined the choir at age nine. He struggled spiritually as a teenager and moved to London to work. He knew things were not right and cried to God to have mercy on me. His life’s passion was the Kingdom’s work. He liked specially hymn writing and open air preaching for the Plymouth Brethren. He wrote the hymn, “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus” in 1875. He lived to be 92 years old and served the Lord preaching for 73 years.

My prayer for the week: Dear Lord, thank you for your son, Jesus who provides a resting place for our weary souls. Guide our hearts and hands to reach beyond ourselves to serve You. Amen

Rescue & Obedience


Obedience. It’s not exactly a fun word, is it? Whether a dog on a short leash, a teenager sliding in at curfew, or any of us driving slower than what we would like, if we act out of obedience, that means someone else is “the boss” of us. Someone else is in charge.
 What does it mean that God asks us for obedience? It means that we’re called to trust God more than ourselves. Again, in looking at our Advent theme of Rescue, we are called to participate in Rescue…and we participate through obedience.
Kids walking pathObedience is counter-intuitive to our human nature. It puts self-preservation on the line.  Obedience to God may call us to set ego aside and do something that may have seemed unthinkable the day before, despite what others will think or say. Why? To paraphrase every parent ever: “Because God says so.” God has given a nudge… a nudge for us to act out of love instead of self-interest. Have you ever felt that nudge and ignored it? Most likely, your answer is yes…because most of the time God’s nudge points us to do something inconvenient, scary, annoying or just plain hard. It may even make us want to kick and scream and say, “NO!!” Which of course, as a reaction sounds a lot more like rebellion than obedience, doesn’t it? But because of our love for God, and because of Jesus’ example we are called and encouraged to embrace God’s nudge with a “YES.”
 Obedience is sometimes done with grace and peace, and sometimes done in a cold sweat and a lump in the throat…“Why am I doing this???”  Being obedient to God can very definitely mean fighting our own fear, our own thinking, but there’s a reason…

Isaiah 55:8-9  New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
You may have heard that God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called…But we still have to say, “Yes.”
If you’ve been reading this blog the past few weeks and internalizing it, you’ve been working on being obedient to God. Becoming watchful, preparing your heart, finding joy at its source. Centering on these ideas are acts of obedience to God and King… Keep on. Obedience is OUR part of the Rescue, and the only part that is in question… The rest is a sure thing…
For more thoughts on obedience, listen to Jason’s sermon on the topic from December 19.
Please join us December 24th,  Christmas Eve at 5, 7, 9 or 11 p.m. for worship. We would love to see you here!
Christmas Day and New Year’s Day will be “One Church” Sundays. There will be one worship service at 10 a.m., instead of the usual worship schedule of three services.
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God is Light

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense. And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Romans 9:33

Recommended reading: Romans 9

Mary Fulkner was born in London and her family immigrated to America when she was young. After marrying John Thompson, they joined the Church of the Annunciation (Episcopalian) in Philadelphia. Mary and her husband, John, served the church for many years. Mary enjoyed writing poetry and penned more than forty hymns. She began writing the rousing missionary hymn “O Zion, Haste” in 1868. At the time she was a worried mother sitting at the bedside of her dangerously ill son, who had typhoid fever. She completed the hymn three years later when she wrote the refrain.

My prayer for the week is one of the original verses she wrote for the hymn which is left out of most hymnals: Dear Lord, “Tis thine to save from peril of perdition the souls for whom the Lord His life laid down; Beware lest, slothful to fulfill thy mission, Thou lose one jewel that should deck His crown. Amen

The Humble Serve God

Nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

Recommended reading: Romans 8

Charles Tindley was born into slavery in 1851. His father was poor but rich in the grace of God. Charles taught himself to read. He then read the Bible. One day Charles slipped into church and sat in the back. The preacher asked if any child could read the Bible that they should to come forward. Charles went to the front. People looked at him oddly and remarked about his bare feet. Charles resolved that day to gain an education. After emancipation, he moved to Philadelphia. He gave his life to Christ in a Methodist Church. He began his ministry humbly as a church janitor. He entered correspondence schools to gain his education. In 1885 he applied for ordination. He became a world-famous pastor, preacher and hymnist. He wrote words and music for the hymn “Nothing Between” in 1905.

Prayer for the week: Dear Lord, You deliver us so we are able to walk with You to serve You in Your ministry. Help us to be more like Christ so we can be clear to help other know and follow You. Amen