Excerpt from March, 2018 "The Mountain Top Messenger" newsletter...

Spring is almost upon us, as I come to you this month. I am again challenged, at least for a few minutes, regarding what I should write. I have just returned from a week in sunny Arizona with June...
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March 2018 "The Mountain Top Messenger" Newsletter
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Spring is almost upon us, as I come to you this month. I am again challenged, at least for a few minutes, regarding what I should write. I have just returned from a week in sunny Arizona with June. It was a great week with a few days of relaxation and a few days of work. We attended the Best Practices Ministry Conference put on by Christ Church Lutheran in Phoenix. It was a very uplifting and re-energizing time. With that being said, as we are entering the third week in Lent you would think ideas would be gushing out of me. Perhaps the problem is too much information? So, as I pondered what the topic should be, I scanned the headlines, often what is in the news today reflects on our life as Christians in this fallen world. Well, I was not disappointed so here I go.

One headline that caught my attention was as follows: "Chris Pratt offers Kevin Smith Prayers, So of course the internet attacks."

Kevin Smith, a movie director, suffered what was described as a "near fatal heart attack" and is recovering in the hospital. Now actor Chris Pratt [star of the Guardian of the Galaxy movies] sent a message on Twitter to Kevin, in part it said: Kevin we don't know each other too good but I have loved you since Clerks and I'm praying my a#@ off for you cause I believe in the healing power of prayer. Can you please pray with me people!?

Within minutes Chris was being bombard with negative Tweets because of his statement. Some of the responses went like this: "No!!! Please tell me you are being sarcastic! I don't want Chris Pratt to be a god botherer." "If you wanna help, actually help. Praying is just a way to feign helping so you don't have to go out of your way" "Great now I won't enjoy your films as much knowing you're a Jesus nut"

It seems apparent that the world at large has lost its respect for prayer. The atheistic movement in the United States has gotten such a grip and voice, that it intimidates people for sharing their faith even if it is through something as simple as offering a prayer. And on top of that, they talk of prayer as being useless and if you really want to help someone or some cause, then you are to help physically. The same sentiments have echoed throughout the media regarding the Parkland School shooting, comments like don't pray for us, that does nothing, do something! Now they never really specify what that something is but they are constantly trying to downplay the power of prayer.

My friends, make no mistake, the ruler of this world is the devil and he will do everything within his power to turn it against God and Christ as well as all of us who follow the Triune God. We are the target, he will do everything he can to try and move us away from our faith. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, we have an advocate when we pray, we know that God hears our prayer, we are told to pray unceasingly and that we should never be afraid to ask our father for anything. Remember from Matthew 16:18 Peter has just confessed to Jesus that he is the Christ, the son of the living God and Jesus tells Peter and reminds us that that confession is the "rock" on which he will build his church and he says; "and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." We know the story, we know the ending, and it is Good! We know the devil will lose and God will win, and we the faithful in Christ shall win as well.

So don't ever let anyone intimidate you when it comes to prayer, know that the Holy Spirit is always there with you ready to intercede should your words fail you. Pray, pray my friends, pray unceasingly and fear not, why? Because Jesus himself tells us; "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." [Matthew 28:20b] We will never be forsaken, we will never be abandon, he, Jesus will always be with us.

Oh, and on a closing note. Chris Pratt, has not let people's talk against his faith bother him. He regularly talks of the importance of Faith and Family, particularly living in Hollywood, he also has an Instagram account to express his faith to the world.

God bless you all in your Lenten journey, Paul tells his friend Timothy; "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer." [1 Tim 4:4-5]

I pray God's blessing be upon you.
Pastor Rick
excerpt from...
March 2018 "The Mountain Top Messenger" Newsletter