A Message of Hope Born in Bethlehem

Do you like a good story? We all do, don’t we. A good story is hard to resist – isn’t it? Whether it’s movies like Lord of the Rings, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Hobbit or The Star Wars Saga… There is something captivating about a good story.

Maybe that’s why we are so hooked on certain holiday classics like It’s a Wonderful Life or Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. These are stories that have endured because there is a certain down-to-earth, realness about them.Do you like a good story? We all do, don’t we. A good story is hard to resist – isn’t it? Whether it’s movies like Lord of the Rings, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Hobbit or The Star Wars Saga… There is something captivating about a good story.

And then there is the story of the birth of JesusIt’s been said that “the Christmas story doesn’t hide us from the harshness of our world. The harshness is an integral part of the story. And this is one of the reasons that this story is so powerful and enduring…The story does not hide us from the existence of the harshness. The story integrates it, showing us that God entered into the harshness of our world in order to change it.

But for now, looking at the Christmas story with a wide lens, just how do you re-tell a story as enduring as this one? Well, I think one way to do it is to attempt to look at it from a different vantage point. Looking at a story from a different vantage point can bring to light different facets of its enduring qualities. We are going to try to do that tonight by looking at one such passage in the Bible – Galatians 4:4-5

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to son-ship.

Now at first glance you won’t see shepherds, Mary and Joseph, wise men, or even a manger! But I think if you look a little more closely, you will. Each of those famous components of this story are all there, imbedded in the first line of that verse. From this verse I want to leave you with one simple Christmas-time reminder from God:

God holds all of human history perfectly in his hand (“the set time”)

God was more than able to keep the newborn infant Jesus safe in the midst of the harsh world he was born into. Barely before he had taken his first look at the world, Jesus was already being hunted by a King who wanted him dead. Then, barely after taking his first breath of life, his father is forced to hurriedly take his family to nearby Egypt. Embedded into the fabric of this Christmas story is God’s promise to take care of us – just as he took care of his son – Jesus. He will take care of us. And that is why there is so much hope centered on that first Christmas day.

We all understand that the holidays are really not a “holly, jolly” time after all. No doubt this past year has been full of disappointments and heartaches in our personal and professional lives. Maybe you’ve struggled to hold down a job or you were passed over for a promotion. Maybe you’ve been dealing with broken relationships characterized by hate and a lack of forgiveness. This is the first complete holiday season I’ve spent without my mother. We lost her to a long battle with Alzheimer’s just four days after Thanksgiving last year. Whatever the source of your hurt and anger, life in this world can just be plane unforgiving….but it is not without meaning.

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – C.S. Lewis, the Problem of Pain

The pain and suffering that so often characterizes our lives does not need to rob of us our hope for something better. In fact, that is a good one word summary of that first Christmas morn – HOPE. As those wise men from afar looked into the face of Jesus, what they saw was hope. Hope for mankind. Hope for a better future. Hope for a restored relationship with our Creator. You see, you matter to God. You really do! God desires to be so present for you; so involved in your life that He invades human history in a way that changes the course of history itself.

Are you ready for the New Year? Whether you’re ready for it or not, it is just over one week away so I suppose we need to get ready for it! With the new year, there be no short of newspapers, magazines, talk shows and self-help gurus promising your best life now; promising better career success and the like if only you follow their formula. But I promise you this – if you put your hope in Jesus as your Savior then you will have true hope in the New Year.  How do you put your hope in Jesus as your savior? It’s by quietly confessing your sin of unbelief to God and accepting Christ as the payment for your sins. We call this repentance and faith.

If you’d like to continue your pursuit for hope in the new year, I encourage you to check out an upcoming class we will be offering through the York Adult Education at the York Middle School beginning Tuesday evenings in March. You can get some information here https://youtu.be/3zEZoDMb51o

A Seacoast Christmas

You’re invited to:

A Seacoast Christmas
Date: Saturday, December 23 / limited seating, please RSVP below

Time: 6:00pm
Location: Kittery Lions Club, 117 State Road in Kittery

Can’t wait for Christmas Day? Go aheadwe have an early Christmas gift for you and we’d like you to open it now. Look below to receive our gift to you this Christmas season. A Seacoast Christmas is a free event and all are welcome.

What you can expect:

This is an event for you! In fact, its our gift to you this Christmas season. No matter your background, beliefs or where you live we hope you come and join us. We hope to offer a wonderful Christmas celebration to help you slow down from all the distracting and draining elements of the holiday season and come and get recharged to truly enjoy the simplicity of Christmas. Because we want you to be comfortable, please dress as simply and comfortably as possible and with the weather in mind. It’s not a fashion show, but our gift to you at Christmas!

The evening will feature a 45-minute Christmas Celebration service featuring a live, multiple instrument band playing traditional Christmas Carols. After a short break at the end of the celebration, you are invited to stay with us for refreshments and a free Christmas movie entitled The Nativity Story. You can even check out the official trailer to the movie here:

We hope you can come and enjoy the entire two part event but if you feel you need to leave just a bit early…feel free to. We are relaxed about that sort of thing! We understand you may have time restraints at the holidays and we want to honor that.

Merry Christmas,
The Plocinski Family


RSVP

Please call Ron and Melissa at home or sign up using the form below.
(207) 606-0421


A Seacoast Christmas

What are you looking for freedom from?

I have been meditating on freedom lately, as I prepare to meet – my wife and I with another dear Christian couple to study the Bible together. We gather regularly, like so many of you do, in hopes of gleaning some practical wisdom for our lives. I may not know much about you; or know you at all, but one thing I think probably describes us all. We are looking for true freedom. Maybe its freedom from addiction. Maybe its freedom from past hurt. Maybe its freedom from unhealthy thoughts that plague your mind. I know each of those circumstances must bring much pain to those who bear those burdens. I certainly don’t want to make light of those situations. In fact, I mean to answer them. I mean to help you truly address them which this next statement.

The Bible describes all of humanity as being in bondage to sin and death.

Fundamentally, we suffer from all other forms of bondage (no matter the arena it appears in) because of this one basic fact that tragically unites all of humanity. The New Testament states is bluntly, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). One thing I have truly come to appreciate about the Bible is its varied and often picturesque way of communicating our origin, our problem, and the remedy. For instance, in one of those picturesque moments, the Bible describes us as, “…you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously lived according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient” (Ephesians 2:1-2). 

We truly feel and experience empathy for those of us who are going through difficult times or feel that they are in bondage to something. We are truly hope for liberation – for freedom. And I wish that for each of you!

So recently I was reading the New Testament book of Romans – chapter 1 verse 17. Though the language might not strike you as endearing, it speaks to true freedom. That big word justified can be simply be read as just as if I’d never sinned. You see, fundamentally, all our bondage traces back to human sin. However, God wants mankind to experience freedom through Jesus Christ. And the good news is that God takes care of everything that needs to be done for us! He sends Jesus to die for our sins. Jesus lives a perfect life and by some miracle God chooses to take his perfection….and give it to us!! So, it is just as if we had never sinned. What awesome news. I hope you come to experience true freedom through Jesus Christ, particularly as the holiday season is coming fast open us.

If you’d like to hear more about this freedom; if you’d like to know how you can conquer addiction and bondage in your own life, let me invite you out to our Home Bible Study at Fellowship that meets Sunday afternoons at my home. You can send us a message through out website at www.renewchurch.me

 

True Longings in Life

Could you imagine living your life without true longings in your soul?

That would be hard to imagine, wouldn’t it? I mean, come on, isn’t longing and desire what gives life its zest? Can you imagine navigating our short existence on this terrestrial ball without desires, aspirations, hopes, dreams? That would be a pretty poor way to experience life!

Good news is we were never intended to go through life with such robotic mechanicalism – without ever experiencing the longings that induce our emotions to laughter, to tears – from joy to sadness, from gratitude to generosity – and so on. And to make sure we fully understand that true longing in life is at the heart of the very existence of every human being, God gave us the book of Psalms! This one, in particular, has always meant much to me and I have been feasting from it again lately:

 Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
a helper who is always found
in times of trouble.
Therefore we will not be afraid,
though the earth trembles
and the mountains topple
into the depths of the seas,
though its water roars and foams
and the mountains quake with its turmoil. Selah

There is a river—
its streams delight the city of God,
the holy dwelling place of the Most High.
God is within her; she will not be toppled.
God will help her when the morning dawns.
Nations rage, kingdoms topple;
the earth melts when he lifts his voice.
The Lord of Armies is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah

On first read of this Psalm, you might be prone to think it’s more about God than it is our own creative intent to long. However, look again. Isn’t igniting deep, soul-intoxicating longing for God the point of King David who wrote it? Actually, David’s soul is already aflame with such impassioned longings for God that he can’t keep it to himself!

Niagra Falls

It overflows into this piece of beautifully inspired poetry – right into our own lives, like the waters of Niagara Falls that cascades into Lake Ontario below it.  And speaking of a river – did you notice one is mentioned in this Psalm? The character of God is of such mind-blowing boundaries and significance that David needs to employ picturesque language throughout the Psalm in order to scratch the surface of the depths of wonder of our heavenly father. 

Won’t you go to him today to have the match of the wonder of God struck aflame? Long, and long deeply for more of him – in the middle of this complicated terrestrial ball we call home? Don’t settle for such paltry, passing longings this broken world will offer – hold out for more of God!

Life Explored

We want to be a church for those not so familiar with what church is all about and for those with little understanding of the basic teachings of the Bible. If that is you, then we suggest a great course, Life Explored, that we think would be useful for you. Life Explored is a seven session series featuring a combination of short films – shot around the world – and Bible interaction.

It’s an exposé of the little gods that promise us so much happiness, yet deliver so little. As it explores the Bible story (creation, fall, redemption, new creation), Life Explored shows how our deepest desires for happiness can only be satisfied in one person, Jesus Christ.

The best gift God can give us is himself. Life Explored is as flexible as you are. It’s been designed to be used one-to-one, or with larger groups meeting in a bigger space together.

If you’re interested in joining us, we’re holding sessions at the Plocinski home here in York. Call to RSVP or email us using the form below.

Sincerely,
The Plocinski Family


Event Date

Sundays
4:00pm


Location
The home of our church planter
Ron and Melissa Plocinski:
2 Ledgewood Drive
York, ME 03909
(Just off Rt. 103)

map

RSVP

Please call Ron and Melissa at home or sign up using the form below.
(207) 606-0421

rsvp

Life Explored

Plocinski Summer BBQs

Join the Plocinski family
for some summer cookouts!

Saturday, July 8th and
Saturday, August 19th

Don’t bother choosing a date, we’d love to see you at both!

The fun starts at 3pm!

burger-dog

The Plocinski’s
2 Ledgewood Drive
York, ME 03909
(Just off of Rt. 103)

 

RSVP |
Please call Ron and Melissa at
207-606-0421 and leave a message

If you’d like to bring a dish to share, please
contact Melissa. Meats and beverages provided!

CHILDREN WELCOME TO
ENJOY THE BOUNCE HOUSE!

Longing to Labor in Prayer

Well, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us but, we are a nation that prays!

Prayer

Research organizations who specialize in polling statistics have for many years chronicled the fact that Americans are a people who pray. The Pew Research organization recently published that “55% of Americans say they pray every day.” Since we as a nation are direct descendants of our English Puritan ancestors who first landed at Plymouth over 300 years ago, it shouldn’t surprise us that prayer is still deeply ingrained in our national identity. Of course, this supposed commitment to prayer should not be taken as any clear evidence of our understand or commitment to a thoroughly biblical understanding of the Christian faith or a biblical understanding of prayer. Notwithstanding, the fact that so many of our friends an neighbors, Christian or not, have a tendency towards prayer is a great pre-evangelism tool. That is, it can be used as a discussion starter that can then lead to a Gospel presentation.

But enough of that for now. Moving on to what is a thoroughly biblical understanding and commitment to heart-felt prayer – I long to pray more! In fact, I long to become one who labors in prayer as the constant mode of my life.

How are you doing at it? What are you doing to elicit it in your life? For many yearsI have wanted to grow deeper in my understanding of a biblical theology of prayer while at the same time growing more practiced in a continual habit of effectual, biblical prayer. As part of this, we recently spent a few Sundays studying prayer in our Sunday evening small group in our home, as part of Renew Community Church – the Church plant that I lead. One of the last verses we studied on prayer was this one by the Apostle Paul – Pray Continually.” Short and to the point – right? Well, I want to excel in what Paul means by this. I want that spiritual life indelibly marked out by an unceasing prayerful attitude.

I long to be so intimate with my heavenly father that I pray unceasingly – that I pray just like my savior did in his short life on this earth!

And as our church plant gets started – Renew Community Church, my desire has been that we become a church that fulfills this command on prayer, not only individually but corporately as well. I long for Renew Community Church to become a church that makes hell shake by its commitment to prayer! I long for Renew Community Church to become intimately engaged in the act of a continual lifestyle of praying. One that would be seen as uncommon. One that is marked out by bold, mountain-moving, kingdom-expanding, life-saving, prayers that leave a legacy as a result of their power!

I hope God’s Holy Spirit burns that same commitment indelibly in your own identity. Need some help, like me, to become more prayerful? I hope some of these resources are useful for you. Let me know what you think. What you have found helpful.

http://meredisciple.com/tag/jon-tyson/

https://www.gty.org/library/questions/QA157/what-does-it-mean-to-pray-without-ceasing

http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/how-do-i-pray-without-ceasing

Home Fellowship Dinner & Devotional

Join us Sunday March 26 from 4:00pm-6:00pm at the Plocinski home. This is where we gather weekly, share some food and some time in the Bible to learn how to follow God together.

Call to RSVP or email us using the form below.

Please let us know when you contact us what food item you can bring to help make the dinner easy on us all.

Sincerely,
The Plocinski Family


Event Date

Sunday,
March 26

4:00pm-6:00pm


Location
The home of our church planter
Ron and Melissa Plocinski:
2 Ledgewood Drive
York, ME 03909
(Just off Rt. 103)

map

RSVP

Please call Ron and Melissa at home or sign up using the form below.
(207) 606-0421

rsvp

Home Fellowship Dinner & Devotional

Share the Good News of Easter!

Outreach Event


I wanted to tell you all about an upcoming Easter event:

On April 9, we are inviting you to gather at our home, at 2 Ledgewood Drive in York Maine.

We will take some time to prepare the outreach materials, then hit the streets in a local neighborhood, distributing the materials to our friends and neighbors. We will then gather back at the Plocinskis for a simple dinner together.

This outreach is also open to our friends from other local churches who have been faithfully assisting us so far. Also be sure to view the video below. Please join us at this amazing opportunity if you are able!

Sincerely,
The Plocinski Family


Event Date

Sunday,
April 9

3:00pm


Location
The home of our church planter
Ron and Melissa Plocinski:
2 Ledgewood Drive
York, ME 03909
(Just off Rt. 103)

map

RSVP

Please call Ron and Melissa at home or sign up using the form below.
(207) 606-0421

rsvp

Share the Good News of Easter Outreach RSVP

Finding your Treasure

Where does your treasure lie? What treasure are you looking for? Notice I did not say, “Are you looking for a treasure?” If you are standing vertical and have a pulse, then you are searching for something – what is it?

Blaise Pascal, a famous French mathematician and philosopher, put it like this: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” But th
at’s the problem, right? That “filling with created things,” part. We will fill our hearts with anything that we think helps us make since of this life. We will do anything, go any place and try anything just to find our “belonging” on this spinning globe.

So as many of you know, I just preached a sermon this past Sunday entitled, “Christ: Our Endless Treasure.” That wonderfbible-verse-luke-12-where-your-treasure-is-there-your-heart-will-be-also-2014-1024x791ul little verse that we probably often just read over in Colossians that says, “Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”. I won’t get into my sermon here since I hope to be able to get it listed on our website soon. But I do want to hit on a verse that I simply mentioned in passing towards the end of that sermon. Luke 12:34 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. The concept in this verse, and behind it (that we were made to long for something) really is the great equalizer of all humanity I think. That is because the one thing all humanity has in common, in spite of all our differences, is that innate desire, deep down in us all, longing for significance.

Do you feel that longing today? Is it especially strong today? Is it compelling you to seek to fill it with some placebo? If the truth be told, perhaps many of us seek to navigate life by actually seeking to quell that desire. Maybe for some of us to permit that desire is actually a painful thing because it lets you know just how real you really are. We shouldn’t quell it or settle for a placebo though. Rather, you should actively seek to place your treasure in things above. That is the point of Jesus’ words to his followers in Luke 12:34 above. So why don’t you give that a try?  You were created with a purpose. And as Augustine so famously said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in you.” Looking for rest? Find it in Jesus this week. He said himself, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Does that sound like something you can use this week? Well, run to him and ask for it. He will give generously, that’s his very nature. 

May all your worries cease to be worries as you find your rest in Him this week!

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