May 14, 2019

MANY GIFTS, ONE BODY - GIVING

THE ROMAN ROAD TO THE GOSPEL
SERMON SERIES

Listen as Pastor Chris Canote leads us through an in depth study of the most influential book of the Bible and the greatest letter ever written. You will learn about the true essence of Christianity and salvation by God's grace through faith in Jesus.


So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.  -- Romans 10:17 (CSB)



SERMON AUDIO PODCAST


PASTOR CHRIS CANOTE - SERMON LIBRARY

Apr 29, 2019

MANY GIFTS, ONE BODY - EXHORTING

THE ROMAN ROAD TO THE GOSPEL
SERMON SERIES

Listen as Pastor Chris Canote leads us through an in depth study of the most influential book of the Bible and the greatest letter ever written. You will learn about the true essence of Christianity and salvation by God's grace through faith in Jesus.


So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.  -- Romans 10:17 (CSB)



SERMON AUDIO PODCAST


PASTOR CHRIS CANOTE - SERMON LIBRARY

Apr 24, 2019

TRUE WORSHIP

THE ROMAN ROAD TO THE GOSPEL
SERMON SERIES

Listen as Pastor Chris Canote leads us through an in depth study of the most influential book of the Bible and the greatest letter ever written. You will learn about the true essence of Christianity and salvation by God's grace through faith in Jesus.


So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.  -- Romans 10:17 (CSB)



SERMON AUDIO PODCAST


PASTOR CHRIS CANOTE - SERMON LIBRARY

Apr 23, 2019

ASKING ESSENTIAL GOD-QUESTIONS

EASTER SERMON SERIES


In this 2-message Easter sermon series, Pastor Chris Canote tackles two essential "God questions" on Easter Sunday. 

  • 1) Why does the resurrection matter? 
  • 2) Why does a good God allow evil to exist? 

Coming to the wrong conclusion to important questions like these can poison our relationship with our Creator and cause to miss out on the abundant life God has in mind for us.



So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.  -- Romans 10:17 (CSB)





SERMON AUDIO PODCAST


Message #1 of 2

Message #2 of 2

Mar 22, 2019

JESUS HAD A SWEET BEARD!

Over the years, I have read too many stories about people who claim to be Christians but who are also not accepting of people who are not like them.  I submit that those people probably ought to spend more time reading their bible and less time judging others.


I read a story about a church which had a new family come for a visit. 

Their single first and last visit was for a regular Sunday morning worship service at the church.  This family had a father, a mother, one daughter, and one son.  And that one son was sporting a bright blue mohawk hairstyle.

Well, wouldn't you know it, one fella from the congregation took it upon himself to make fun of said bright blue mohawk hairstyle.  He also went on ahead and let the father of this boy know it was a disrespectful way to come into God's house.  Of course he did, because that is what Jesus did and would to...right?  Wrong.  You will find zero indication of such in the Bible.  Needless to say, that moment sealed the deal for this family.  They would not be returning to this church.  Chances are they may not visit any church in the near to distant future.

Just to keep things on the real, am I personally a fan of the mohawk hairstyle?  Maybe and maybe not.  But, who cares?  Would I go with that hairstyle for myself?  Nope.  


But, you better believe if and when somebody shows up at my church for a visit who has a weird haircut, I will make every effort to make them feel welcome.  It will be my great blessing and pleasure to do so.

Can I just tell ya something?  Jesus died for everyone...regardless of hairstyle!  If we do not - really, for real - buy into the Biblical principle that Jesus died for all, we are more likely to reject people who are not just like us.

I recognize that probably a few people may not have a full appreciation for my beard.  That's ok with me.  I really do not care.  It's all good here in beard town.  Besides, I know they will eventually come around.  Also, Jesus came to die for me AND the boy with a bright blue mohawk.  We need to keep in mind that Jesus is much more concerned with our souls than He is with our hairstyle.

Side note:  Why do all the pictures of Jesus show a trimmed beard?  I am convinced - and you should be too - Jesus not only had a beard, Jesus had a sweet beard!  I don't see Jesus stopping by the Jerusalem Cut N Curls to get His beard trimmed up.  His beard was surely a wooly man-beard and a thing of beauty!  

Prayer - 
Father, please forgive me for giving into the human and worldly inclination to judge others who are not like me.  Help me to have a heart which overflows with the kind of mercy, grace, and love which You offered freely to me.  Amen.

There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? -- James 4:12 (CSB)

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi

Mar 21, 2019

SET APART

Many years ago, in another lifetime and season of my life, I worked for an accounts receivables management firm.  I started at the bottom of the totem pole and over a period of over ten years, I worked my way into an upper management position.  The job was a great source of pride in my life.  During that same time, in my personal life, I had recommitted myself to God and the things of God.  

God took me from being the guy in the office who might organize a "guys night out" of bar hopping to being the guy who would pray with you and invite you to a 6 AM Bible Study at Cracker Barrel on Friday mornings.

I began to spend more and more time in prayer.  I prayed many times that I was willing to do whatever God wanted me to do.  I prayed that I was willing to go wherever and whenever God wanted me to go.

The problem was that for a long time, I didn't really mean it and God was, of course, fully aware of that fact.  I was not actually fully available to be used by God.  I was only saying the words that I was available.  I really enjoyed my job title, my company car, my office, my paycheck, etc.  The job was a great source of pride in my life.

It was only after God helped me come to a place in my heart spiritually where I was not only saying the words but also meaning the words.  As I continued to study His Word, God revealed more and more about Himself.  He was also revealing more and more of what I needed to know about myself.  He was moving me, as I prayed.  I was not moving Him.

It was only after I actually - for real - made myself available to be used by God that He was able to begin to use me in ways I had never even imagined possible.  

This happened because God had His hand on my heart with a plan and purpose for me and my life all along.  In my surrender, I was SET APART by God.  It was not my plan.  I had other plans.  I had to be willing to surrender my own plans.  I had to be willing to take risks and to step outside my own personal comfort zone.

I have no regrets about that season of my life nor would I trade it.  The job was a blessing financially to our family.  Those experiences and opportunities for professional and personal growth led me to be who I am today.  However, being in a position of a greater surrender to God and the things of God while serving God in ministry, has absolutely brought a level of satisfaction and reward beyond what I thought possible.

Can I just tell ya something?  I believe God is always calling us to something greater, to take a bigger risk, to stretch our faith, to something bigger than ourselves, to something which will require a deeper faith in Him.  What is God asking you to do which would stretch you beyond your own personal comfort zone?  Are you fulfilling your ministry?

Prayer - 
Father, I am humbled to consider all of the many ways You have worked in and through me as a man, father, husband, etc.  I do not deserve that You would even acknowledge my presence.  Your patience with me is hard to comprehend.  My heart overflows with gratitude.  Amen.


But as for you, exercise self-control in everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. -- 2 Timothy 4:5 (CSB)

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi

MYSTERY

THE ROMAN ROAD TO THE GOSPEL
SERMON SERIES

Listen as Pastor Chris Canote leads us through an in depth study of the most influential book of the Bible and the greatest letter ever written. You will learn about the true essence of Christianity and salvation by God's grace through faith in Jesus.


So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.  -- Romans 10:17 (CSB)



SERMON AUDIO PODCAST


PASTOR CHRIS CANOTE - SERMON LIBRARY

Mar 15, 2019

WHO WAS THAT GUY?

Can you remember who you were at 16 years old?  Can you remember what occupied your mind or what you daydreamed about?  What were your motivations and inspirations for your decisions and actions?  What were your goals?  Why did you have THAT haircut?  Who was that guy?


In some ways, my life as a teenager seems like 100 years ago.  In others, it seems like it was not that long ago.  

In the 30+ years since those days, so many things have changed on so many levels.  Some of those changes are for the better...by far.  Some, maybe not so much.  I was skinny back then, barely shaving a wannabe mustache, and had a full head of hair.  But also, there was not even the slightest notion within me of the crazy Canote family circus life waiting just beyond the horizon!

Somedays, I think I would love to be that age again.  I can guarantee you one thing for sure.  I would definitely do a few things differently.  Other things, I would certainly not change one bit.  Of course, that is all a silly way to think either way.  We cannot change the past.  Yesterday was over last night - over as in, done and gone - finished.

The truth is that most attempts to analyze the past with an idea of protecting ourselves from being hurt in the future do not work. The only One who can effectively guard and protect you is your Creator.


It is easy to fall into the trap of believing we can handle our own trials and struggles in life.  

It is easy to fall for the stinking-thinking that our problems are too unique and specific, too insignificant, for God to care or to get involved.  But we cannot dwell on a problem, past or present, with any real hope for an answer to magically appear.  We must take our problems to the only One with real answers.  His name is Jesus.  He is patiently waiting for us to approach His throne in confidence, fully trusting Him to hear, understand, and to honor the promises of God.  We must reach forward with hope for what lies ahead and let go of the past.

Prayer -
Jesus, I know You hear me when I cry out to You.  And, You not only hear, but also respond to the faithful prayers of Your people.  Please forgive me for allowing the distractions of this temporary place to cause me to lose sight of who You are and who I am in Christ.  Amen.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.  -- Philippians 3:13-14 (CSB)

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi






Mar 14, 2019

AGING GRACEFULLY

2019 has been an interesting year so far for me.  This will be the year I turn 50 years old.  I have not been overwhelmed by that idea or even dwelling on what is inevitable.  However, there have been more than a few days where the idea has occupied some of the limited real estate of my mind.  


And, thanks to an app on my phone, I know that it will happen in roughly 41 days, 13 hours, and 5 minutes...as of the moment I write this post.

It seems, as though April 24 looms closer and closer AND there are reminders of my age on a more frequent basis.  For example, I was recently diagnosed with tinnitus caused by mild to moderate hearing loss and was prescribed to wear hearing aids.  Of course, this is not the end of the world.  However, it is a reminder nonetheless that I am not as young as I used to be.  I do have 4 grandchildren which are absolutely the delight of my life.  I went with "Papa" instead of "Grandpa".  In my mind, Grandpa's are old.  Papa's are a younger junior Grandpa. 

Last week, upon leaving our local Sam's Club - where, by the way, I was purchasing new batteries for my new hearing aids - I lost my car in the parking lot!  Not only did I lose my car, I attempted to get into someone else's car instead!  To my utter delight (sarcasm font needed), not only was someone in said car, I happen to know the people in the car.  No keeping it a secret now!  So much for aging gracefully.  If anybody needs a grandpa, I'll just be over here driving too slow in the passing lane with my blinker on.  When I get home, I guess I'll just sit on porch in my rocking chair and yell at the neighbor kids to "Get off my lawn!"

Now, of course, I am just having some fun at my own expense.  Can you remember what it was like to celebrate a birthday when you 10 or 11 years old?  


Do you remember celebrating, full of joy, excited for the year ahead, and doing something you love with the ones who make you smile?  

What would it look like if some of us who are heading through our 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond were to really celebrate our years again?  What if we began to shift our perspective from a focus on the fear of aging to a focus on the the rich, full lives God is calling us into as the years pass?

Can I just tell ya something?  If we look to God's Word regarding aging, we are reminded about grace and goodness; not fear and resistance.  God tells us more than once that growing older is an honor.  The longer we live, the more experiences we are given to learn from, and the more wisdom and perspective we gain to see life in new and beautiful ways. When we see someone in their later years (or when we look in the mirror and it’s us!) we might be reminded of what a gift and opportunity that is.  It is a gift which not ever receives.

Whether you’re celebrating your own birthday or that of someone special, remember that every single day in every single life matters. Don’t wait for a milestone in your life to make it special. Look in the mirror and cherish those gray hairs and wrinkles.  Remember how they are created.

Prayer -
Lord, forgive me for allowing my age and the physical condition of my aging body to distract me from the reality of my hope in Jesus.  I know that You are with me and that this place is only temporary.  Amen.

I will be the same until your old age, and I will bear you up when you turn gray. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will bear and rescue you. -- Isaiah 46:4 (CSB)

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi



Mar 13, 2019

THE DAWG HOUSE DINER

In 2002, my wife and I bought, from her uncle Ben, what was for many years called the "Harrisburg Café".  We did some renovations and redecorating and re-named it the "Dawg House Diner."  

Though it was certainly a radical change in lifestyle, we did it because we felt a very strong leading from the Lord to do so.

We used the business, in part as a ministry tool in our community.  We had a new found strength and boldness in our faith as a result.  We held a weekly youth prayer breakfast there.  We even held Sunday evening church services there for a few months.

However, trust me when I say this, it NEVER made sense financially for us to attempt to support a large family through this business.  The numbers never added up.  But that did not matter to God.  It is interesting how hurtful things stick in your mind.  I remember a particular gentleman from our community who I overheard saying, "This place won't last three months!"  And, to be honest, that hurt a little.  It was a fiery dart sent in our direction meant to discourage.



But, you see God had other plans for us.  God had a plan to teach the Canote family how to live by faith.  God had a plan to teach us how to have your bills prayed in full.  

Can I just tell ya something?  God does not need a calculator.  In fact, as the Bible says, God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  As the Martins sing, "God's gonna do what God's do!  He always up to something new!" 

As it turns out, that season of our lives, as the owner/operators of a small town café, was a financial boot camp.  Was it difficult?  Yes, it sure was.  Was it often stressful?  Yes, it sure was.  But, the truth and reality is that we came out on the other side with a much closer walk with God, a deeper faith, a stronger testimony, and a much greater appreciation for the promises of God.

Prayer -
Father, thank You for loving us enough to allow us to experience what we need to experience in order to know You better and to grow spiritually.  In my heart of hearts, I know Your plans and timing are the best even if it means stress and difficulty in the moment.  Amen.


Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you;  I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.  

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi