Dillon Evans • November 24, 2020
For many, Christmas is a wonderful day, where the world seems to stop. We awake on Christmas morning, warm in our PJ's with a log on the fire, or at least the heat is on. But for many, Christmas comes with a sadness, a longing for family and friends who can't be with us. For others, prison bars are a reminder that they are trapped, forced to await a day where they can be free. Whether physical or spiritual Christmas is a reminder that we all await the day where the bars will be opened. Where we can walk out into a new life, but the door is shut, it can't be opened from this side. We need the One with the key to come and set us free.
There is one theologian who knows this better than most. His name is Dietrich Bonhoeffer; if you are unfamiliar with him, I want to introduce you to him. A man of deep faith and conviction was put to the test in Germany at the height of conflict with Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. Let us look to the Advent this year through his eyes, the eyes that saw real horror, that saw prison bars, that awaited with hope, not just Christmas day (Advent) but looked for the final Advent. The coming of Christ with waiting, as a prisoner awaits the day he is set free. Starting this Sunday, join us each day online as we look to Christ from one of the theological giants of the last century this advent season.
I will leave you with but one of his thoughts -
"Perhaps we have thought so much of God as love eternal and we feel the warm pleasures of Christmas when he comes gently like a child. We have been shielded from the awful nature of Christmas and no longer feel afraid at the coming near of God Almighty. We have selected from the Christmas story only the pleasant bits, forgetting the awesome nature of an event in which the God of the universe, its Creator and Sustainer, draws near to this little planet and now speaks to us. The coming of God is not only a message of joy, but also fearful news for anyone who has a conscience."
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dillon Evans • September 01, 2020
"For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son" Romans 8:29 ESV
There was once a group of women studying the book of Malachi in the Old Testament. As they were studying chapter three, they came across verse three, which says: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” This verse puzzled the women, and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.
That week this woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot – then she thought again about the verse, that he sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.
The man answered “Yes”, and explained that he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be damaged.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”
He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy. When I see my image in it.”
If today you are feeling the heat of this world’s fire, just remember that God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ are refining you. "You are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ."
Dillon Evans • August 31, 2020
“What does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’”
I remember one of my very first ministry experiences was playing the guitar and singing on the worship team at my church. I loved music but I was new to the faith and very shy about being up in front of people. I was too timid at the time to ask, but a new friend I had met who was already on the team knew this and motivated me to at least come to worship rehearsal to check it out. That first night at practice changed my life. I was expressing my faith and love for music for the first time with a group of other believers, and there was nothing like it. Even more impactful was my new friend, who took over an hour after each rehearsal every week to help mentor me both in music and the faith. His example in the Lord shaped who I was as a child of God, and he helped lead me down the path I am on today.
It is wonderful to have those spiritual mentors to help guide us in the faith, isn’t it? A lot of us have stories of the friends, pastors, or others that God put in our path to help set us on our spiritual journey. My friend Sam was that person for me, and I was honored to have him as a groomsman in my wedding. In Romans 4, Paul writes about Abraham, the father of the Hebrew people, and his great faith. Paul explains how even though Abraham wasn’t perfect, just like all of us, that God took Abraham’s strong faith and counted it towards righteousness.
Abraham is a great example to us in our faith, like how my friend Sam was to me. Just as God counted Abraham's faith as righteousness, so too does He count our belief in Jesus as righteousness. Just as we are not perfect, like Abraham wasn’t perfect, our faith in Christ brings us salvation. In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul reiterates this point: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
It’s not what we do that makes us righteous in God’s eyes, but rather our faith in what Jesus did! Abraham was our example on how faith can justify us in God’s eyes, and Jesus is who we must believe in. Let us follow Abraham’s example of faith and find salvation in the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross.
By: Zachary Wessell of https://jacobsladderccw.com/
Protection Mennonite Church • August 28, 2020
This year, I’ve had one of those years where I have just about lost it, given up, thrown in the towel. I keep saying how am I, what can I, I don’t have, I need, well now I finally see the answer that has always always been right in front of me. I am not!!!! I can not!!!!! I don’t have the power or ability too!!!!
The Lord, my God, is and does!!!!!
Only He can do, get me through, pick me up, and keep me going!!!! I hear so many times; people say the Bible says that God will never give you more than we can handle. Yes, the Bible says -“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are being tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT), but we aren’t the ones that have the power to withstand it, but it is God who gets us through. It’s His power, and it’s Him giving us the ability. It’s only with Him by our side.
I want to take this moment for anyone else like me who this year has just been the pits and life and or situations are just out of your control, you can’t figure a way to keep going, you don’t know which way is up, you have so many burdens or problems you can’t breathe. STOP NOW! Drop to your knees and cry out, talk with God. Tell Him everything no matter how big or small that is going on and give it over to Him. “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)
Jesus is more than willing and capable to do far greater things than we could ever even imagine. But remember, after you pour out your heart, make sure you leave it there with Him, it does no good to pick it back up. After all, He is the creator; there is NOTHING He can’t do. I pray my experience will help you know you are not alone, so many of us are hurting and going through rough things or have been through them, and we need each other to share with, encourage, pray with, and for each other.
If there is ever a time you need an ear, shoulder, or someone to lift you up, call, text, message, or stop by, and I’d love to be there for you. We need each other, but let us never forget we have a Father who loves us so much more than anyone else ever. He is never more than a whisper away. God bless you, dear reader.
~ Nina Evans
Dillon Evans • August 21, 2020
Protection Mennonite Church - Kids Club Starting Sept. 9th
As we have all experienced this has been a year of constant flux and change. Covid-19 has affected us all in various ways. The school year was cut short and had to go to an online format. It forced our businesses and churches to shut down and come up with alternative ways of meeting the needs of our community. As I am writing this letter, our local schools have re-opened with some safety measures such as checking fevers and requiring the wearing of masks.
We have met with the leadership team and volunteers of Kids Club. Our approach will closely follow the school guidelines. We will take extra measures to ensure the safety of the kids.
- We will have the game time held outdoors for as long as the weather allows us to.
- Our volunteers will wear masks whenever it doesn’t interfere with their tasks. If there is a task that makes wearing a mask impractical then we will have at least 6 feet of distance between the volunteer and the kids.
- We trust your judgment regarding your children and will leave the wearing of masks by the children up to each parent/guardian.
- During the lesson and singing time, the kids will be spaced out, we will have every other row of pews closed off.
There is not a 100% fool-proof approach to battling Covid-19. We will do our very best to keep everyone up to date. If the schools change to a Phase 2 or Phase 3 approach, we will adjust as necessary. We ask if your children have any symptoms such as a cough, fever, that you keep them home for that week. I will send out updates as time gets closer.
We ask you to fill out the registration & consent form.
A signed copy of this form is required for your child(ren) to attend Kid’s Club.
Pastor Dillon Evans
Helping you and your children to Know Christ and to make Him Known!
Dillon Evans • March 17, 2020
Confession: Psalm 38:10–15
My heart throbs violently, my strength leaves me;
and the light of my eyes, that also is not with me.
My friends and companions stand aloof from my affliction,
and my relatives stand afar off.
Those who seek my life lay snares as well,
and those intent on my harm speak threats.
They also plot deceit all day.
But as for me, like the deaf I cannot hear,
and I am like the mute who cannot open his mouth.
And so I am like a man who hears not,
and in whose mouth there are no retorts.
Rather for you I wait, O Yahweh.
You will answer, O Lord my God.
Reading: Mark 12:13–17
And they sent some of the Pharisees and the Herodians to him so that they could catch him unawares in a statement. And when they came, they said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful and you do not care what anyone thinks, because you do not regard the opinion of people but teach the way of God in truth. Is it permitted to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or should we not pay?” But because he knew their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius so that I can look at it!” So they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” And they said to him, “Caesar’s.” And Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar the things of Caesar, and to God the things of God!” And they were utterly amazed at him.
See their craftiness. They do not say, “Tell us what is good, what is expedient, what is lawful?” but, “What do you think?” They looked to this one object: to betray Him and to set Him at enmity with the rulers. And Mark declaring this—and more plainly discovering their self-will and their murderous disposition—affirms them to have said, “Should we pay [Caesar], or should we not?” (Mark 12:15 NRSV) They were breathing anger and travailing with a plot against Him, yet they feigned respect.
What did He say? “Why are you putting me to the test?” (Matt 22:18 NRSV). He talks with them with more than usual severity. Because their wickedness was now complete and manifest, He cuts deeper. He confounds and silences them by publishing their secret thoughts and making their intent clear to all.
He did these things to repulse their wickedness so that they might not suffer hurt in attempting the same things again. And yet their words were full of respect, for they both called Him Master, and bore witness to His truth and said He was no respecter of persons. Jesus, being God, was not deceived by these things. They also ought to have realized that the rebuke was not the result of conjecture, but a sign of His knowing their secret thoughts.
HOMILIES OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
God knows all of your secret thoughts. What areas of your life do you need to give over to Him? How can you turn your worship back to Him in these areas?